Let’s face it; Kevin Durant is not the most popular basketball player these days. Even though he is one of the most skilled offensive players of all time, he seems to be getting a lot of hate, and the main reason being is him leaving OKC to go and play for the Warriors almost four years ago. Now he is a member of the Brooklyn Nets after leaving the Warriors last summer.
Whether you hate him or love him, you can’t deny Durant’s ability to dominate the game in almost every single aspect of it. For a 6’11 guy,” he moves incredibly fast, has insane handles, and can pretty much shoot it from anywhere on the floor.
Kobe Bryant, who is another great player but also a great student of the game, said Kevin Durant was probably the toughest matchup for him because he wasn’t able to figure him out. In an interview with Alex Rodriguez and Dan Katz, he shared some interesting points of view on Durant’s skill set when he came to the league and now.
“Kevin Durant. Kevin Durant. That was the one I retired without being able to figure out how I can stop him. When he first came into the league, he was easy to defend because he couldn’t go right and shoot. He used to kind of shoot across his face, so that was a weakness that he had. Also, in the post, he couldn’t turn left shoulder; everything was right shoulder, so that gave me areas that I could shut off.
Durant learned and adjusted his game throughout the years and developed it to a point where he was almost impossible to guard for Kobe and many other players.
Then he started developing it. And now he can pull up left; he can pull up right, he can shoot the long ball, he has runners, left hand, right hand. Before he had a left-hand finish at the rim, I could always send him left, forcing him all the way to the basket. Even with the advantage of his size, he was still uncomfortable finishing with his left. So I could clamp the right hand and force him in a tough situation.
But now he developed that. So then I couldn’t really figure out, is this a rhythm thing? I’m trying to count the seconds that he takes to make his move. When does he make them, at what times in the game? I couldn’t really figure out that rhythm.
So I retired, not being able to figure him out.“
Kobe and Durant had their share of duels in the western conference. Kobe played his last playoff game against Durant in 2012, who would later that season lose to LeBron James and Miami Heat in the finals.
Kevin Durant has reached his prime and, after winning 2 championships with the Warriors in three straight NBA Finals appearances, signed with the Brooklyn Nets this past summer. Durant joined Kyrie Irving and the Nets in hopes of establishing a new dynasty in the upcoming years. He is still recovering from his Achilles tendon injury and will return to action, probably next season. It will be interesting to see if he will come back as the same player we remember him.