Kevin Durant Calls Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony Toughest Covers

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2014

Feb 9, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) dribbles the ball as Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) defends during the first quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant has been playing fantastic basketball throughout the 2013-14 season, and those who have been paying close attention have noticed that he hasn't just been scoring. 

The MVP front-runner has lit up the scoreboard night in and night out, but he's also made massive strides as a facilitator. And he's starting to play elite defense as well. 

Just look at the breakdown of PERs allowed to different positions, as shown by 82games.com

Position GuardedPER allowed

Those are elite numbers, but Durant has also improved as an off-ball defender. The overall product even led USA Today's Sam Amick to write that he's been a key part of one of the NBA's top defenses: 

Durant, meanwhile, is considered a key member of this Thunder defense that is nothing short of elite (third in the league after being fourth last season). But does that mean Durant can add a line about defense to his already-sterling résumé now, that he deserves brownie points for his work on that end of the floor? It's looking that way at the moment.

But Durant hasn't just excelled while being hidden on the less-glamorous end of the court, as has been the case in the past. Scott Brooks no longer needs to save his superstar's energy for his point-scoring exploits, and that's allowed K.D. to take on some tougher matchups. 

None are tougher than two players, though. 

"Kobe (Bryant) and Carmelo (Anthony)," Durant revealed as his most difficult covers during an ESPN Radio appearance (h/t Royce Young of DailyThunder.com for the transcript). "They just have an array of moves that can get me off balance. They’re strong on defense as well, but Kobe is just the ultimate one-on-one player. It would be fun playing against him but it would be tough to beat him."

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OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MARCH 5:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers controls the ball against Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 5, 2013 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknow
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Solid answers. There's no doubt about that. 

'Melo and Kobe—when healthy—are two of the toughest one-on-one covers, simply because they're uniquely capable of hitting jumpers so tough few players would even dream of taking them. The fadeaways, shot-creating moves and quickness of their games make holding them in check nearly impossible. 

Nothing is wrong with picking that pair of superstars, but it's just a shame no one asked the logical follow-up question. 

What about LeBron James? 

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