Blake Griffin? The Next Big Thing Is Right Now

General PeppersCorrespondent IMay 28, 2009

OKLAHOMA CITY - OCTOBER 29:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder watches a free throw against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Ford Center on October 29, 2008 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Bucks defeated the Thunder 98-87.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.   (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

If I showed you the following stats: 25 points per game, 6.5 rebounds, 48 percent shooting from the field and 42 percent from three point range, you would probably say, "was it Dirk?"

The savvier NBA veteran fan might say "was it Danny Granger?"

And I would simply respond, "Durant", followed by collective heads nodding in agreement with a "that sounds like him" look on their faces.

So, the big question is, Why the hell aren't people talking about a second year player this damn good?

The response I most commonly receive to this question is, "he plays on a terrible team so he shoots a lot and gets points that way."

Partially correct.

Yes, his team is terrible—getting the number three pick only involves a rare blend of luck and lack of talent.

Yes, he shoots quite often; seventh most in the league to be exact. A quick scan of the guys above him would reveal this list:

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

1.Dwayne Wade

2.Kobe Bryant

3.Dirk Nowitzki

4. LeBron James

5.Antawn Jamison

6.Joe Johnson 

Another quick scan would show that only two of them shoot a higher percentage from the field: LeBron James and Dwayne Wade.

What makes this feat even more impressive, outside of the fact that the only people with a higher percentage on so many shots are two of the three best players alive, is the fact that those guys drive to the hole more often than they shoot jumpers, thus making their higher field goal percentages inevitable.

When we swing over to the three point percentage, Kevin Durant ranks 14th. Dwayne Wade and LeBron don't even show up in the top 50.

When we compare them by position, Durant is number three for SFs; Wade is 46th among SGs and LeBron James is 29th among SFs alone.

A deeper look would show that excluding Steve Nash and Jameer Nelson, the players above Kevin Durant are all three-point marksman who squat for open three pointers while they wait for the pass from the driving point guard—Hello Jason Kapono. 

Meanwhile, because Durant's team is terrible and because he is the best player without help, he is often forced to shoot contested shots against the other team's best defender.

Driving the point home even further is the fact that no one above him on the list is within seven points or 400 shots of the man, making the numbers even more skewed in their favor.

If this wasn't absurd enough, toss in the fact that:

A. He's only in his second year and doesn't even have a reasonable No. 2 at this point.

B. He's only twenty. Twenty. He hasn't even fully developed yet. We've seen how Carmelo filled out after his first few years. He is now a physical specimen.

So, what is the reason people have forgotten about this now hidden gem?

The most likely answer is that he is simply one free agent season away from dropping 30 points a game and signing a massive contract to play in Chicago or Miami.

And when that day inevitably comes, please, hold off the Jordan talks, no one will ever be him.

Until then, don't worry about whose got next—Durant's got right now.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.