Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant is not just having yet another stellar basketball season, over the last couple of weeks the 2009 and ’10 scoring champ has taken his production to an elite level that even basketball purists are calling ‘unprecedented.’

His offensive production over the last few weeks tell the story. For the season KD is dropping 31 points per game, tops in the NBA. But over the last few weeks his production has been ridiculous, to the tune of 36.5 points per, 5.6 assists, shooting 52 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point land. With recent victories over top Western conference foes San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors and Portland Trailblazers, KD’s elevation is not an aberration… the Thunder are morphing into strong championship contenders, albeit, unconventionally.

kevin_durant_03So what’s  so unconventional about this? The team has missed injured PG Russell Westbrook since December.  Locked in a very competitive Western Conference, where over the last two seasons the team has traded away one perennial all-star in James Harden, lost sharp shooter Kevin Martin to free agency to conference arch rivals. Addition by so many subtractions typically does not make a team better, but that adage simply does not apply to these 2014  Thunder, who currently sit atop the conference. Why? Durant.

And this is not a knock on incumbents Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb or Steven Adams, but younger players aren’t “battle tested” in a very tough conference over a 82 game schedule. Despite, Thunder GM Presti has always remained optimistic about the potential of this ballclub.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to build on the success and strengths of last season,” Presti said, “and we think we have an opportunity to do that….

“I think Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb have, really, almost pushed the standards higher for some of the younger players that will follow them in our program in the future,” Presti said. “They’ve been incredibly diligent. The time they’ve put in and the quality of the work has been exceptional.”

The Thunder won’t spend over the cap, ever.  And let’s face it, the city of Oklahoma City is not your basketball mecca for attracting top free agents, which makes player development much more than just an intrinsic part of their culture. Without it, the team simply isn’t competitive. With eight players under 25 years of age, this team has every reason to be mediocre. The enigma is… it’s just not happening. Why? Durant.

[powr-survey label=’MY LABEL’]

So what separates KD?

KD has a win shares per 48 minutes average of .323 which is incredibly astronomical, compared to LeBron (.269), Aldridge (.179) and Paul George (.238), all top contenders in this years MVP race.

Win shares are an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player per 48 minutes – the league average is around .100

Bill James first developed the concept of “win shares” as a way to determine how many victories a baseball player contributed to his team each year. Once NBA analysts began to use advanced statistics, it was logical to see if James’ concepts could be carried over to NBA basketball. As it turns out, win shares can be calculated for basketball, and have become yet another metric we can use to determine what impact individual players have on their team’s success.

Some of the all-time leaders in this category include Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Moses Malone, Jerry West and Robert Parish.

 

Season G MP PER FTr 3PAr TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% ORtg OWS WS WS/48
2007-08 80 2768 15.8 .328 .150 6.9 12.0 1.4 1.9 12.9 28.1 100 0.4 2.3 .040
2008-09 74 2885 20.8 .377 .165 9.6 13.5 1.7 1.4 12.2 28.3 111 5.2 7.9 .132
2009-10 ★ 82 3239 26.2 .504 .210 11.0 13.5 1.8 1.9 11.7 32.0 118 11.1 16.1 .238
2010-11 ★ 78 3038 23.6 .439 .269 10.3 13.2 1.5 1.8 10.6 30.6 115 8.6 12.0 .189
2011-12 ★ 66 2546 26.2 .386 .265 11.8 17.5 1.8 2.2 14.0 31.3 114 8.5 12.2 .230
2012-13 ★ 81 3119 28.3 .523 .233 11.8 21.7 1.9 2.6 13.7 29.8 122 13.6 18.9 .291
2013-14 43 1627 30.7 .516 .262 11.2 24.7 2.0 1.8 12.1 32.1 124 8.2 10.9 .323
Career 504 19222 24.2 .438 .220 10.3 16.0 1.7 2.0 12.4 30.2 115 55.6 80.3 .201
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/24/2014.

KD is just that good this year. How good? Scary considering:

“Kevin Durant is a 6-11 me.”
– Kobe


With apologies to LeBron, LaMarcus Aldridge and Paul George fans, each guy having great seasons by their own merit, Kevin Durant is my runaway MVP at this point.

And at 25, he has still not peaked.

The only person capable of stopping Kevin Durant right now is… Kevin Durant.

2 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.