“I just try to get as close as I can,” Durant explained. “If I can't get as close as I can then, if it doesn't go up it doesn't go up. I try to make up for it once the next quarter starts.”
Durant's dismissive approach at the end of quarters is reflective of a league-wide epidemic. Players, in many cases, are putting their teams second while protecting their shooting percentages. Durant even admitted last season that his decision to hoist or to not hoist depends largely on his field-goal percentage and what point in time the game is in.
He attempted only one shot from beyond 40 feet last season despite playing 81 of 82 games and logging the second most minutes in the league. Durant, however, achieved his pursuit of the “50-40-90 Club,” becoming only the sixth player in NBA history to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from the 3-point line and 90 percent from the foul line.
Fourteen missed 3s would have been the difference between joining an exclusive club and coming up just short.
Sometimes, the stakes are high.
Other times, players might simply be outsmarting themselves.
Russell Westbrook also hasn't attempted a halfcourt heave this season. But he attempted three shots from 40 feet and out in each of the past three seasons and said he doesn't have a problem letting them fly.
“If you got enough time then shoot it,” Westbrook said. “If you don't want to shoot it, then pass it to somebody who will.”