He looks bigger and stronger. He’s sturdier against post guys. He’s laterally quicker against guards. He’s more consistently in tune on that end, hustling back more often and communicating louder.
Caron Butler, the Thunder’s newest member, even mentioned how impressed he was that Durant was so vocal and involved in the Thunder’s pregame and in-game defensive planning and adjustments.
“He takes pride on that end,” Brooks said.
And because of that improvement and versatility, Durant provides the Thunder with lineup flexibility.
Brooks can go small and put Durant on a big or go big and put Durant on a small.
“Not just guys that can attack,” Brooks said. “He can guard spot-up guys, he can guard pindown guys, he can guard post-up guys. It’s a credit to his growth as a player.”
More than ever, Brooks can dictate the game based off feel and play increasingly more unique lineups, trusting Durant will fill in the defensive holes.
“I think that’s where, really, he’s taken his game to another level,” Brooks said. “He impacts the game defensively.”
Much more than in year’s past.