Here’s where we’re at: 14,851 points, 542 games, seven signature sneakers, five All-Star Games, and four scoring titles. After OKC’s devastating, season-ending loss to San Antonio, Kevin Durant told reporters he’s “at peace with himself” despite another Larry O’Brien-less summer; and while that’s a predictable response, not everyone will be so lenient. When will he win? That’s the important question, the only question left for Durant to answer. His career playoff numbers are staggering (per game: 42.3 minutes, 28.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.3 stocks— steals plus blocks), but so were Tracy McGrady’s and we all know how that turned out.

Whether we like it or not, whether he deserves it or not, KD will be questioned for deferring to Russell Westbrook down the stretch of Game 6, and for turning it over on a crucial last-second possession. Loud on-court criticism is coming for the first time.

One thing Durant can’t be criticized for, however, is his scoring. With the Slim Reaper at 25 years young, let’s just say Kareem is looking over his shoulder a little bit.

Fadeaways, post-ups, three-pointers from anywhere and everywhere, Durant isn’t afraid of defenders. He’s built for this. After watching the 6’11″ beanstalk terrorize the league every year of the Thunder’s existence, no one is disputing that. Here’s a closer look at how the best scorer in the world gets it done:

GIfted_KevinDurant_RipThrough_470x264The Rip-Through

Anytime you have a YouTube video dedicated to almost five minutes of you drawing fouls, you know you’ve hit the big time. Durant popularized this move almost by himself. If a defender guards him too tightly, with arm bars positioned on Durant’s waist, the Reaper will swing the ball through, rip up, and force the refs to make a call. It’s not the prettiest move in the game, and some will call it cheap, but it is effective.Nowadays the NBA won’t reward this play with free throws unless a team is already in the penalty. Still, Durant gets calls for it. He’s averaged 9.2 free throw attempts per game over the past five years, second in the league behind only Dwight Howard. Even the refs must be fans.

GIfted_KevinDurant_PullUp_470x264The Pull-Up

Any great scorer must have this move. It’s essential. Pulling up when a defender is playing off you will earn your jumper respect and give you the room to get to the rim.Durant, like every right-handed player outside of Jason Terry, is most effective here when the ball is in his left hand. He stutter steps, waits for the defender to bite, then balances on his left leg and rises up for the bucket. You can’t stop that.

 

 

GIfted_KevinDurant_LeanRun_470x264The Leaner/Runner

No matter what you call this shot, it’s becoming a major part of Durant’s repertoire.Having this midrange game is ideal because you can’t always get all the way to the rim. KD can make this shot, and with his size, it’s virtually unguardable. Tony Allen is perhaps the only defender who effectively takes this shot away—one guy out of 30 teams. That’s pretty ridiculous.

GIfted_KevinDurant_DoubleCross_470x264The Double Crossover

You can’t expect most 6-10 players to handle the ball like this, yet Durant routinely catches defenders with his patented double-crossover. Part of that is his ability to stay low, some is the threat of his deadly pull-up, but mostly it’s because of his freakish wingspan. A 7-4 wingspan lets KD show you the ball and then really go. Durant uses this setup move as often as anyone.


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  • skillnwill

    No post game though; a lack of footwork and upper body strength forces Durant to play heads up and settle for long contested jumpers.