OKC Thunder's Kevin Durant playing at an elite level

COMMENTARY — The efficient production of the Thunder superstar makes the players around him better, and keeps OKC humming along.
by Jenni Carlson Published: December 19, 2013

The Thunder wouldn't be playing the best basketball in the league without those guys.

But everything they do is made so much easier by what Durant does.

“It's special in this league if you command double teams, but he commands triple teams,” Jackson said. “We're out there playing one-on-one, sometimes one-on-zero. It makes it drill work. The more aggressive he is, the easier everybody else's job becomes.”

That was evident when Durant checked into the game with about eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter. The Thunder was fumbling around a bit. The bench was scoring well, but Bulls guard D.J. Augustine was getting hot and big man Joakim Noah was causing headaches.

On the first offensive possession with Durant back in the game, the Thunder got him an open look at a 3-pointer from the top of the key, and on the assist from Westbrook, he buried it.

Then he grabbed a defensive rebound.

Then he scored a jumper with the shot clock nearly at zero.

The he hit a jumper on another Westbrook assist.

Like that, the Bulls were fried.

And Durant did it while playing the power forward position, a spot that challenges him more on the defensive end. He's got to rebound, help on pick-and-rolls and do things he doesn't have to do as much when he's playing his more natural small forward position.

But Durant was able to do his job on both ends of the court.

“He's able to stay really locked in for longer stretches,” Thunder veteran Nick Collison said. “I think he has a better understanding of the entire game, the complete game.

“He's really good. I'm glad he's on our team.”

More honest words have never been spoken.

Argue all you want about who is the best player in the world, but right now, Durant is playing like he is. It simply can't be said enough — this guy is really good.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.

 


by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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