Russell Westbrook's return will help increase Kevin Durant's fuel efficiency

Durant is the only player in the NBA to have logged more than 2,000 minutes this season. Clearly, his production hasn't suffered. Ditto for his greatness. But with Westbrook set to return Thursday night against Miami, it's time for Durant to share the baton.
by Jenni Carlson Published: February 17, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) and  Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) celebrate during the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Indiana Pacers at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) and Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) celebrate during the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Indiana Pacers at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Not a one.

Many of the players won NBA titles, but all of them did so when they played fewer than 3,000 minutes in the proceeding regular season.

In case you're wondering, KD is on pace to play 3,132 minutes this season.

No wonder that those compression shorts of his keep getting longer. Worn in an effort to keep muscles fresher longer, Durant's are now capri-length.

What's next? Compression footies?

Durant, of course, has always played a lot of minutes. Comes with the territory when you're the face of a franchise.

Even though Durant has averaged more than 38 minutes a game every season that the Thunder has been in Oklahoma City, neither his production nor his efficiency have suffered because of it. Heck, the 2009-10 season when he played the most minutes of his career (39.5 a game) was his best as a scorer (30.1 points).

But as you well know, Durant didn't win a title in any of those seasons.

Listen, no one is suggesting the warning light on the dashboard is flashing. Far from it. But most people go in for maintenance well before that.

Why not be proactive and preventive with Durant, too?

He did what he had to do when Westbrook was out of the lineup, but now that Batman is back, Superman shouldn't have to carry such a heavy load. Share it, and believe it or not, he'll be even stronger and better for it.

So will the Thunder.

Jenni Carlson can be reached at 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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