Kevin Durant had 14 rebounds in Game 6 against the Spurs. Fourteen defensive rebounds.
That’s not an aberration. Durant has become a consistent defensive rebounder. But he rarely nabs an offensive rebound. In the NBA playoffs, Durant ranks fourth in defensive rebounding per game, 7.4. That’s more per game than Andrew Bynum (7.3), Roy Hibbert (7.1) or Tim Duncan (7.1).
Ranking ahead of Durant on defensive rebounds per game are Atlanta’s Josh Smith (11.6), Boston’s Kevin Garnett (8.9) and Chicago’s Carlos Boozer (8.2).
But Durant has averaged just 0.5 offensive rebounds per game, which makes him tied for 98th in the playoffs, behind the likes of Ty Lawson, Tony Parker and Mike Conley.
What makes Durant such a defensive rebounder, without much offensive rebounding? Well, he’s a good rebounder in general — tall, long arms, great jumper, fabulous hands, good instincts. Offensively, Durant often is far from the basket, and he’s brought close to the basket usually only by drives — his own or those of James Harden’s or Russell Westbrook’s. So there’s not a lot of inventory.
Durant ranks 21st overall in rebounding per game these playoffs, at 7.9. On a team with Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins, KD leads the Thunder in rebounding.
What’s becoming apparent is that the Thunder, despite problems during the regular season, has become a solid rebounding team. Five Boomers average at least five rebounds per game in the playoffs — Durant 7.9, Perk 6.0, Ibaka 5.9, James Harden 5.2, Russell Westbrook 5.1.
In the regular season, those numbers were Durant 8.0, Ibaka 7.5, Perkins 6.6, Westbrook 4.6 and Harden 4.1.