Kevin Durant will likely become the youngest NBA scoring champion. PHOTO BY CHRIS LANDSBERGER, THE OKLAHOMAN
His 89.8 percent mark as a foul shooter ranks sixth in the league.
"He has picked up on how to score in this league. I think that’s the biggest thing,” said Portland coach Nate McMillan. "No. 1 he’s fearless. And now he knows how to draw fouls and get to the free-throw line. He doesn’t avoid contact. He initiates it.
"Now he knows how to score and take advantage of the rules and take advantage of positioning and take advantage of his size and his length. The IQ of Kevin is very high... So he has matured in this league. You knew he could score, but know he knows how to do it. You really don’t stop that.”
The question is, how high is Durant’s ceiling? Does he bump his scoring average next year to 32 points? 35?
Already, Durant has ventured into the Jordan stratosphere of opposing coaches’ defensive strategies. Jordan, scouting reports said, will get his. The defense must turn its attention to stopping everyone else.
Compare that to what Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry said of Durant after the Thunder’s 96-91 win over the Suns on Friday.
"We knew Durant would get 35 (points),” Gentry said. "He always gets 35. I thought we did a good job, though. He got his 35 and we said that we’ve got to keep everybody else under 15.”
"With Kevin Durant, you just can’t guard him,” he said. "Nobody can guard him. Nobody has guarded him this year. He’s missed some shots, but you’re not going to stop him. He’s probably the best scorer in this league.”
After tonight, there won’t be any remaining doubt.