Ranking Kevin Durant's 5 Most Dangerous Offensive Moves
Oklahoma City sports fans, consider yourself among the luckiest enthusiasts of any city in the land. Sure, you may have only one professional sports organization which you can call a hometown club. That team, however, happens to be the Thunder, which has employed the most dangerous scorer in the league for the past few seasons (as well as what seems like the next decade).
Kevin Durant is one of the most versatile overall players in the NBA, and he's certainly the most dangerous offensive player because of the variety of ways in which he can beat you. His array of moves, many of which are made possible by his 6'10" frame, in addition to his nearly 7'5" wingspan. Durant has unlimited range, made somehow even more potent because he's so tall that no one can block those shots from their release points. Yet he's tall and fast enough to attack the basket with ferocity if a player guards him too closely on the perimeter.
Each superstar, though, no matter how many different moves they have, own their signature go-to's. For Kareem, it was the sky hook. Hakeem Olajuwon had the "Dream Shake." Durant has a few, and this slideshow will attempt to rank them in terms of their efficiency and the problems they cause for opponents.
Durant creates so many mismatches for opponents, and can hurt them in so many ways. Here are five of his most dangerous methods.
5. The ....Are You Serious?!?!? Fadeaway
One of the things that makes Durant so unbelievable to watch is the lightning-fast way in which he is able to get many of his shots off. This is an especially dangerous move when Durant combines his catch-and-shoot speed with a fadeaway that can't be blocked.
Rather than first facing up to the defender, then making his move, Durant is able to calibrate where he needs to shoot the ball immediately after the catch, and puts it up while creating juuuust enough space between himself and his defender. The signature example of this move is his shot against the Mavericks to kick off the strike-shortened season in 2011-12. It's truly a thing of beauty, and when executed, is completely unstoppable.
4. Kobe 2.0: The Drop-Step Fadeaway
This shot has to be ranked fifth because of its level of difficulty, but Durant is as good at pulling this move as anybody since the Black Mamba himself in his prime.
Durant catches the ball away from his opponent, then faces him, sometimes with a quick jab step or sometimes face up. KD will then fake inside to create space, and, just as quickly, put up a beautiful fadeaway jumper. Because of Durant's wingspan and the angle at which Durant is releasing the ball, even defenders like Andre Iguodala, Jimmy Butler and Metta World Peace often have no answer for this shot.
No matter how tight a swingman (or power forward) is playing Durant, he will be able to get off this shot. This means that, assuming the shot goes in, Durant can score two points even while being blanketed like a sleepy toddler.
3. The Durantula Dunk
This move requires some help from the defender, but it get bonus points for its high percentage success rate and the demoralizing effect it can have on opposing teams thanks to crowd reaction (home or away).
The first two moves we mentioned were jumpers. Coming into the league, Durant was recognized just as much for his shooting touch as his finishing abilities. DraftExpress.com, in fact, projected him not as a Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, but as a more athletic Dirk Nowitzki.
This move involves Durant baiting the defender into thinking he'll take a step-back jumper, then taking that defender baseline or into the paint with superb recognition and speed. From there, Durant's wingspan makes it likely that he'll finish the sequence with a monster jam. At the very least, he'll get to the free throw line. Most of the time, it'll look something like the above clip.
2. The Crossover
Every great scorer who is either a guard or a swingman in the NBA, whether it's MJ or Allen Iverson or Carmelo Anthony or Dwyane Wade has developed a nasty crossover. Mainly, though, we tend to associate crossovers with guys 6'8" or shorter, who can usually make defenders pay for biting or overcommitting on the crossover with their quick speed and reflexes.
It's especially scary for perimeter defenders, however, when the player able to cross you up is taller than Karl Malone. Durant's handle is better than just about any small forward in the Association, a realization made even more noteworthy because he's also taller than most of them.
Because defenders have to respect Durant's shooting range (which extends from 25-30 feet, well beyond the margins of the three-point arc), they usually don't step back too much, which gives Durant some space to attack or take a floater. Other times, the step back is enough for Durant to take his potent step-up jumper.
The versatility and amount of potential problems this poses for overmatched defnders is the reason that this is near the top of the list.
1. Stop and Pop
Durant himself (according to his Signature Moves series, available on YouTube and well worth a view) would call this move the 62. Quite simply, however, it's a jumper which Durant uses time and time again in transition. He can also utilize it, however, any time he's at the top of the key.
This jumper is available to Durant whenever he has a chance to square his shoulders to the basket. For this reason, it's an easier version of No. 5 on this list. Since Durant has the ability to push the ball up the court himself thanks to his handles, he is often able to get this shot off with lots of time remaining on the shot clock, which is conducive to the Thunder's quick, high-powered offense. With Durant's teammate, Russell Westbrook, also shaping up to be a perennial All-Star, Durant can also create this shot for himself off the ball, if he is so inclined.
Westbrook's skill and presence also limits the amount of double teams Durant faces (imagine how many of these shots he was able to get off when he was teammates with James Harden!), meaning Durant has more space and opportunities to take this type of shot than one might think.
Durant has many fantastic moves which are all pretty unstoppable. This move, however, seems to be his main go-to, and he can make it at will throughout the game. For those two reasons, this is Durant;s most dangerous move. NBA defenders at every position, you've been warned.