After hoisting just 13 shots in Monday's road loss to San Antonio, forward Kevin Durant was asked about his most recent show of reluctance shooting the ball.
Durant defended his offensive performance despite the Thunder's 12-point loss and attempted to explain his preferred style of play.
“I can do whatever I want on the offensive end,” Durant said. “I can come down and take 30 shots. That's not the right brand of basketball for me, to just come down and shoot. It's not because of the defense limiting me to 13 shots. I could have shot more than that, but I was trying to make the right basketball play.”
Durant has maintained all season that in order for the Thunder to be at its best everyone must be involved in the offense and be constant threats to score. Durant has taken on more of a playmaker role in the wake of the Thunder losing James Harden. Durant this season is averaging a career-high 4.7 assists, or 1.2 more than last year's career best.
But while Durant seeks the right balance, his decision-making has been scrutinized on and off throughout the season. The reigning three-time scoring champion is attempting just 17.9 shots per game, the second fewest of his career and only 0.8 more per game than Durant attempted as a rookie. Durant ranks seventh in the NBA in shots per game behind Carmelo Anthony (21.6), Kobe Bryant (20.6), Rudy Gay (19.3), Russell Westbrook (18.8), Kyrie Irving (18.2) and LeBron James (18).
Since the All-Star break, Durant has become even more conservative, attempting 16.8 shots on average in the past 11 games. Durant is averaging 6.2 assists over that span, the most on the team.
RUSSELL WESTBROOK ON RECORD PACE
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Thunder is on pace to become only the second team in NBA history to have a scoring champion not take the most shots on his team.