Kevin Durant seems to be getting better every year.
The Thunder are also improving with him. They went from reaching the first round in the playoffs as the 8th seed to reaching the conference finals all within one year, which is a great improvement. The Oklahoma City Thunder are a young team with a lot of promise, especially in Durant, who has become the league's best scorer.
However, the Thunder are not guaranteed to improve again next year and go to the finals. The Wild West is full of other teams that could easily knock out the Thunder, like the Lakers, the Timberwolves, and the defending champion Mavericks.
Let's be honest. Durant's great, but not yet an elite superstar. If Durant can become one of those true elite players, he could help lead his team to the NBA Finals, and maybe win it all.
Here is what he must do.
Durant is 6'9" with a 7'5" wingspan.
Those long arms make him a deadly shooter from mid-range to beyond the arc. But his long arms look very skinny, and they need more muscle on them. If Durant can add some more mass, he can become an even deadlier scorer.
If he were stronger, he would have more success in the post. With Durant's quickness, a better post game would be great for him, and the rest of the Thunder team.
I decided to put these two problems together instead of separate because the three basic triple-double attributes are points, rebounds, and assists. Durant only succeeds in one of those.
Durant averaged 6.8 RPG in the 2010-11 season. For a guy with a wingspan as long as his, Durant should be able to get eight to nine rebounds each game.
The assists column in Durant's stats is more than disappointing. He averages a measly 2.7 APG for his career.
If a guy like Hedo Turkoglu, who's slower and less athletic than Durant, averages 5 APG, what should be expected from Durant?
Durant seems to be more interested in playing offense than defense in a game. Basketball is played at both ends of the court, and to success requires great offense and defense.
Durant's reach can help him in so many ways, including defense. With his long arms, he should be able to swat shots easily. Since he is tall for his position, that makes it especially true.
Durant's steal numbers seem adequate. But another problem in Durant's defending is his aggression. He should be up in players' faces, and not allow them anywhere near the paint.
Durant doesn't have foul trouble, so a little added aggression wouldn't do any harm.
In the first round of the 2011 Playoffs, Durant averaged 32.4 PPG. In the semifinals that went seven games, he averaged 26.4 PPG. And in the conference finals, he averaged 28.0 PPG.
And after each round, his turnover numbers nearly doubled.
His three-point percentage also suffered. After each round, his percentage went down by 10 percent. As for his percentage from the field. It went from 0.471, to 0.449, to 0.429.
As you can see, when Durant struggles, the whole team struggles.
This part will come naturally for KD. He's only 22-years-old, and he has a very bright future ahead of him. He gets to play in front of one of the best crowds in the league, so he's definitely got a lot of support.
I still think Durant should take better shot selection and play in the post, where he's more likely to score.
He's one of the hardest workers in the league, and if he can improve on the little things, he can become the best player in the league.
I can see Durant becoming an MVP in the future, and with help from the team, he's got a great chance at reaching the finals, and maybe bringing the championship home to OKC.
Feel free to comment if you want to add something, or if you think I'm wrong somewhere.
I'm also new to BR, so feedback would be appreciated.