If he's going to finally achieve his goal this season, Kevin Durant can't have many more nights like he did Sunday.
The exclusive club in which he seeks membership doesn't allow for it.
Fortunately for Durant, if this is what his off nights look like these days he's probably in good shape.
Durant has a chance to become only the sixth player in NBA history to join the 50-40-90 club, a fraternity reserved for only the very best of the league's best shooters. It's a club that honors consistency and recognizes players who go an entire season shooting at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line.
Durant admits he has aimed to join that select list of players since his second season. But this season, Durant's most efficient yet, he appears to have his best shot.
Before Sunday's 104-93 win over Indiana, Durant was shooting 51.5 percent from the field, 45.7 percent from 3-point range and 90.1 percent from the foul line, all career highs.
Against the Pacers, Durant scored a game-high 27 points with eight rebounds and four assists. He made nine of 24 shots, one of five 3s and eight of his 10 foul shots. That “subpar” shooting performance — which amazingly stands as Durant's second-worst display of accuracy this season — actually dropped his percentages to 50.6, 44.0 and 89.5.
But just being in range, even if it's still early in the year, is an achievement in itself. It speaks to Durant's continuous development and illustrates how far he's come since being widely considered a chucker as a rookie.
“I think we're just seeing him put it all together right now,” said Kevin Martin, who's no stranger to scoring efficiency but never could quite crack the club.
Larry Bird, Mark Price, Reggie Miller, Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki are the only players to post 50-40-90 seasons. Bird and Nash are the only players who have done it multiple times. Bird did it twice. Nash has done it in four different seasons, the last time during the 2009-10 season.
“It's tough,” Martin said. “It's unbelievable (he's got a chance), especially being a No. 1 scoring option and everybody's trying to key on you. That's just a testament to how hard he works though.”
In his third season, Martin shot 47.3 percent from the field, 38.1 percent from 3-point range and 84.4 percent from the foul line. He remembered the field goal percentage being the most difficult to maintain, something Durant might find equally tough throughout the remainder of this season considering he's primarily a jump shooter.
“You've got to hit a lot of tough shots,” Martin said. “Your 3s sometimes are wide open, but you're going to have the ball in your hands at the end of games and you're going to be taking a lot of tough 2s.”
For Durant to be in the discussion, though, says a lot about his selflessness, Martin said.
“He could easily score 35 to 37 a night on 40-40-90,” Martin explained. “But that's just not him. He's in it for the team and that's why he's such a special player.”
Durant, for now, is trying to not think too much about his pursuit of superior efficiency. He said he fell short in the past the moment he began to focus on the feat.
“I'm just trying to work on my game every single day and fine tune my shooting, my 3-point shot and my ball-handling,” Durant said. “I'm just taking what the defense gives me. My teammates do a great job of setting me up and making it easier for me so I just got to do my part in finishing.”