This may be odd saying this but, Kevin Durant is the best two-way player in the NBA… For this year at least. Kawhi Leonard aiming to get back at full strength from his quad injury. This makes the race not even close. Nobody is playing at the highest level on both sides of the ball like how Kevin Durant is.
Remember when KD decided he was joining Golden State and the knock on them was they’d have no rim protector and would get killed in the paint? Well, since then they’ve won a championship and their rim protector is also their leading scorer. Durant is currently averaging 26 points with a career-high 2.3 blocks per game. Tied for second in the NBA with Rudy Gobert.
It Hasn’t Always Been Like This
Kevin Durant has been an elite defender for the past year and a half. However, it has not been that way for his other 9 seasons. He has never been named to an NBA All-Defensive team yet. This is odd, given his 7’0 wingspan and guard-like quickness. This is because, in OKC, he wasn’t able to play defense and be the same offensive juggernaut. He, (alongside Russell Westbrook) carried the load on offense and let players like Thabo Sefolosha, Serge Ibaka, and Andre Roberson be the defensive anchors. Now that he is a Warrior, there are 3-4 different players that can drop 30 on a given night.
This is the easiest I’ve ever seen Durant play. The game is much more free and fluid on the offensive end. He’s taking fewer shots and averaging roughly the same amount of points. Steph, Klay, and Draymond space the floor so well that Durant isn’t getting double-teamed as much as he did in OKC. All of that affects his game on the defensive end in a positive way. Believe it or not but KD and Draymond have become the top Defensive Frontcourt in the NBA.
Durant himself discussed on his defensive improvements, satisfied that his defense is finally being recognized, per ESPN.com’s Chris Haynes:
“It’s cool that people are starting to recognize me for more than just a scorer. I’ve been trying to shake that rap for about since 2012. So when people start to notice what you do, I mean obviously, it’s not all you do it for … but when fans watching the games, and anybody watching the game, you want them to see what you do. I try to impact the game as much as I can on both ends of the floor.”
That’s my Dawg!
Even teammate and reigning DPOY, Draymond Green endorses Durant’s silent campaign. And he doesn’t think its even close
This DPOY campaign will be a unique one. If Durant wins it he will have the highest PPG average to win it since Hakeem Olajuwon did it in ’84 (26.1 PPG). Per Basketball-Reference. The Warriors are on track to tying/breaking the ’85-’86 Washington Bullets’ whopping, 8.7 blocks per game avg lead by Manute Bol, which is the Highest in NBA history. All lead by the defensive anchor, Kevin Durant!