Thunder: Could busy summer schedule hurt Kevin Durant?

With training camp scheduled to start Friday, the number one question for the Oklahoma City Thunder star will be what impact will yet another hectic summer schedule have on the two-time scoring champ?
by Darnell Mayberry Published: December 4, 2011
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Once again, there are legitimate concerns about Kevin Durant as the start of another NBA season nears.

And, again, he brought them on himself.

With training camp scheduled to start Friday, the number one question for the Oklahoma City Thunder star will be what impact will yet another hectic summer schedule have on the two-time scoring champ?

It was all fun and games watching Durant dazzle crowds from coast to coast this offseason when he played in nearly every pro-am and charity game he got invited to. But there's no telling how much of a toll that taxing tour took. And for a franchise that will be widely expected to compete for the championship this season, the Thunder absolutely cannot afford for its leader to be fatigued mentally or physically in a shortened 66-game season.

In the past, Durant has blown off concerns about how a heavy workload affects his condition. He's always reasoned that he is a 20-something who just loves playing.

The problem, though, is Durant has historically gotten off to slow starts. In 60 career November games, Durant has averages of 24.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 3.4 turnovers. He's shot 44.2 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from 3-point range in those games. Of those figures, his points, rebounds, field goal and 3-point percentage averages are his lowest of any full month, and his turnover average is his highest in any full month.

Of course, those numbers could mean Durant is just getting his legs under him early on. But either way, that trend needs to change.

Though it's much more important to play your best ball at the end of the year rather than the beginning, this lockout-shorted campaign will pose different challenges. In a compacted season that will feature a handful of three games in three nights, the Thunder needs Durant at his best with games mattering much sooner for playoff positioning.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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GETTING IN A GROOVE

A look at Kevin Durant's career numbers in November.

YEAR; G; PPG; RPG; APG; FG%; 3PT%; FT%; MPG

2010-11; 13; 26.9; 7.0; 3.1; 42.7*; 23.3*; 93.5; 40.3

2009-10; 15; 27.7*; 6.7*; 3.5; 46.3; 23.7*; 86.0*; 38.3

2008-09; 16; 22.9*; 4.1*; 1.7*; 46.1; 48.3; 86.3; 36.3

2007-08; 16; 20.6; 4.3; 2.2; 41.430.0; 83.0*; 34.3

* Lowest totals for any full month in that season.

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