OKC Thunder notebook: Kevin Durant continues to improve ballhandling

Miami star LeBron James was impressed with Durant handle skills, says KD ranks with Chris Paul, Derrick Rose and Steph Curry in that department.
by Berry Tramel and Anthony Slater Modified: March 26, 2014 at 8:04 pm •  Published: March 26, 2014

Back in late January, Kevin Durant put on an impressive show in Miami, burning the Heat for 33 points and leading the Thunder to a win.

And after the game, Heat star LeBron James pointed to one of Durant’s most overlooked skills as something that impressed him most.

“His handle is great,” James told reporters postgame. His handle is up there with CP3, (Derrick) Rose and Steph Curry.”

High praise for Durant. And an area of his game that has quietly elevated him to new heights during recent years.

A born scorer, Durant has developed rare dribbling ability for a guy as tall as most NBA centers.

“Coming from where I come from in DC, all we did was streetball a lot,” Durant said. “All these different crossovers, these different moves.”

But early on in his playing days, Durant’s size became a bit of burden when it came to ballhandling. Once he started playing organized basketball and began developing into his wiry 6-foot-11 frame, coaches started to plant that rare height in the interior.

“Me being so tall, I got away from it and I played below the basket all the way up until I got to the league,” Durant said. “So I had to work on it and bring it back, and I’ve been working on it for years.”

On Monday against the Nuggets, Durant put those slithery moves on display, shaking Denver forward Darrell Arthur with a pair of quick-twitch crossover, before finishing him off with a feathery and-1.

The latest example of his constantly evolving game.

THABO AND PERKINS TRAVEL

For the first time since being sidelined with injuries, Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins traveled with the Thunder on its most recent road trip.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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