Kevin Durant's 2012-13 NBA Season Stat Predictions for Oklahoma City Thunder

Ben LorimerSenior Analyst IINovember 11, 2012

Kevin Durant's 2012-13 NBA Season Stat Predictions for Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Kevin Durant is the consensus second best player in the NBA, and therefore he is a front-runner for the MVP award at the end of the season. With this in mind, his statistical output for the season will be widely scrutinized and compared with his past performances. 

    In this article, I will look at KD's current statistics and predict whether the arrow is pointing up, down or will stay level. Pointing up means that his statistics should increase by the end of the season, pointing down means that it should drop by the end of the season, and staying level means that his statistics in that field should be very similar come the end of the season.

    Enjoy!

Points Per Game

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    Arrow is...pointing up.

    2012-13: 22.0 PPG

    Career: 26.2 PPG

    This is one of the easiest predictions to make. KD is one of the most lethal scorers in NBA history already, and his versatile offensive game is sure to lead to his scoring average moving towards his career average of 26.2 points per game.

    Most people are blaming Durant's lower-than-normal scoring output on his desire to develop a more all around game and getting used to life after Harden. He is also taking three fewer shots per game than last season, and common sense would suggest that this number will only increase with Harden out of the picture.

    2012-13 Prediction: 27.5 PPG 

Rebounds Per Game

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    Arrow is...pointing down.

    2012-13: 11.0 RPG

    Career: 6.7 RPG

    Durant will be hard-pressed to maintain this high level of rebounding, but he will still set a new career high this season. Even if he starts playing at power forward a lot more this season, averaging 10 or more rebounds per game is a tall order for someone who plays a lot the game on the perimeter shooting and guarding small forwards, even for the 6'9" Durant.

    This is not to say that Durant will be a poor rebounder. In fact, he is definitely the best on the Thunder team, and he could certainly maintain this level if he played closer to the hoop. However, his role often draws him too far outside to be a double-digit rebounder.

    2012-13 Prediction: 9.4 RPG 

Assists Per Game

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    Arrow is...staying level.

    2012-13: 4.3 APG

    Career: 2.8 APG

    A big focus for Durant this season has been on improving his passing and play-making skills with the departure of James Harden, and this has led to him raising his assist totals by almost an entire assist per game already. However, this has come at the expense of shots and turnovers.

    As the season wears on, I believe that Durant will become a better passer. However, as he starts getting into the rhythm of the new offense and taking more shots, the assist total will stay similar.

    2012-13 Prediction: 4.5 APG 

Field-Goal Percentage

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    Arrow is...staying level.

    2012-13: 49.5 FG%

    Career: 46.8 FG%

    Frankly, this is what is expected for Kevin Durant. Last season he shot 50 percent from the field, and with his sweet stroke and ability to get to the hoop with ease he should shoot at this rate or higher for the rest of his career, and especially this season.

    While Durant is taking fewer shots than he will probably end up taking later in the season, he has proven over the last few years that he has what it takes to score efficiently while taking a large volume of shots.

    2012-13 Prediction: 50.1 FG% 

Three-Point Percentage

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    Arrow is...pointing up.

    2012-13: 35.3 3P%

    Career: 36.4 3P%

    Kevin Durant is a great three-point shooter, and while shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc is good, he is very capable of nailing 40 percent of his shots from deep. While the amount of attention he draws because of his talent as a scorer means he often struggles to get open looks from deep, it is not much to expect him to make more of his three-pointers.

    2012-13 Prediction: 39.0 3P%

Free-Throw Percentage Per Game

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    Arrow is...pointing up.

    2012-13: 84.2 FT%

    Career: 87.8 FT%

    This is one of the easiest predictions. For good shooters, free-throw percentage is relatively consistent through their careers once they have played in the league for a while, and Durant's career average of nearly 88 percent is a far cry better than what he is currently shooting.

    Without a doubt, Durant will be shooting at a more efficient clip than he currently is by the end of the year. Any slight increase will make a big difference to his scoring rates and the team's success, given how often he gets to the line.

    2012-13 Prediction: 87.9 FT%

Blocks Per Game

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    Arrow is...going up.

    2012-13: 1.2 BPG

    Career: 1.0 BPG

    Kevin Durant is sitting pretty much at his career average for blocks per game, but his new positional responsibilities should lead to more blocks. With more time near the rim, he should be able to more consistently block shots. 

    Also, with Durant getting stronger over the offseason, he should be able to stay on blocks better than he has previously. This, along with playing in the paint more, should lead to a increase in blocks over his career numbers. He should be a good secondary rim defender behind Serge Ibaka.

    2012-13 Prediction: 1.6 BPG

Steals Per Game

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    Arrow is...staying level.

    2012-13: 1.8 SPG

    Career: 1.2 SPG

    With long arms, quickness and decent anticipation, Kevin Durant is a good steal artist, but he would be unlikely to maintain his torrid rate over the season if the Thunder were not looking to incorporate more zone defense this season. In this system, his length to fill passing lanes will be accentuated and lead to many more takeaways and fast breaks.

    Maintaining this rate of steals will be important for Oklahoma City to kick start their transition offense. So far the Thunder have not gotten out and ran as well as they did last season, and since steals are the best way to do this, it will be key for Durant and Co. to disrupt passing lanes.

    2012-13 Prediction: 1.7 SPG

Turnovers Per Game

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    Arrow is...pointing down.

    2012-13: 4.8 TO

    Career: 3.2 TO

    If there has been a big negative to Durant's season thus far, it's the rate at which he has been turning over the ball. His 4.8 turnovers per game has led the league, and it is largely taking away the value of his improved playmaking. 

    Despite his issues this season, and to a lesser extent his whole career, Durant should start turning the ball over less as he gets more comfortable with his playmaking role and improves his passing vision and execution. He will still be one of the league leaders this year, but given his multifaceted game, a few turnovers will have to be accepted.

    2012-13 Prediction: 3.4 TO