There are ultimate truths in life, with one of them being that you can’t stop a healthy Kevin Durant from scoring, only limit him. For one basketball writer, he believes there’s a way to limit KD’s scoring onslaught.
Force him to shoot more 2s
Basketball News contributor Mat Issa tried to do the unthinkable: find ways to limit Kevin Durant from scoring too much, and he just might have cracked the code. In his article, he detailed that you can’t stop the Brooklyn Nets star, only limit his production and hope for the best. Referencing Patrick Beverley’s comments that isolating KD inside the rainbow arc isn’t always effective, but those are the type of shots opposing teams want Durant to take.
Durant’s shot efficiency when taking contested shots inside the 3-point line with defenders within 0 to 4 feet from him stands at 53.9 percent, which is still pretty good. This results in 1.08 points per possession which is slightly below what he makes when he’s in his comfort zones: pop-up transition 3s or coming off screens. Isolating superstars is not always a good idea, but it works for KD because of one essential factor.
KD isn’t the same rim attacker he used to be
When defenders stay close to take away the 3-point shot, it means allowing the offensive players to beat them using speed to attack the basket. This is why isolating Ja Morant or Donovan Mitchell, who can blow by everyone, is not a good idea. But for KD, it might work since the 15-year-veteran lost his instinct to get to the basket and only shoots 14 percent of his shots in that area.
So, what are the qualities of a good KD defender? First, he must have length, size, and quick hands and feet. Strenght is also essential when Durant starts backing them up. Given these, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ben Simmons, PJ Tucker, and a younger Andre Iguodala fit the bill.
In the end, Kevin Durant is just too good to stop. He needs very little room to hoist a shot and get himself going. Other teams are warned, and Issa’s theories on stopping Durant should be tested in the upcoming playoffs by the opposing team that will play against the Nets.