Every NBA player had to start from somewhere in the league, as there has never been a player that wasn’t made aware soon of where he came to play, facing some of the best players in the world for the first time and realizing you are going to have to give your best night in and night out. Most of the players got humbled in their first game against a superstar, as realizing individuals’ quality just overwhelms you.
“Melo” is one the more underappreciated players and scorers of this era, being one of the most unstoppable offensive players we have ever seen, combining a silky smooth jump shot with power and great feet work in the post. That skillset made him a nightmare for a lot of his defenders, as KD learned about that early in his career, playing his first NBA game on the road in Denver against Carmelo.
Durant was the guest on the Knuckleheads Podcast with Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson, as he spoke on that game and how it felt guarding Carmelo that night:
“My first game was against Carmelo Anthony. He was just physical. He would duck you in the paint, hit you with the shoulder, then he’ll take you out… Jab, jab, pull-over top of you. He would just have you thinking too much on D. I got on the plane confused.”Kevin Durant, via Knuckleheads
Durant isn’t the first great player to have praise for Carmelo; as Kobe Bryant in his time told numerous times, “Melo” is the toughest player to guard for him. In that game, KD talked about, Carmelo scored 32 points, along with five rebounds and five assists in the Nuggets 103-120 victory. The rookie Durant put up a solid fight, scoring 18 points on a bad shooting night in his debut. Even though he lost, KD took a lesson from that game, as now he is one of the biggest fears of NBA defenders, being even more unguardable than Carmelo. The natural cycle of the NBA life.