Kevin Durant is thus far playing a pretty pedestrian series by his standards against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.
Durant is averaging 29.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.5 blocks and 2.5 steals in 42.5 minutes per game so far in this series. He’s shooting 50.0 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from three and 95.0 percent from the line.
Well, those are pretty good numbers I guess?
But the Thunder are down 0-2 in the series nonetheless and an eventual outcome of the Thunder advancing to the NBA Finals seems very bleak.
Durant has given the Thunder a lot but they need more to get past the Spurs this year with these teams. The more needs to start coming in the post for Durant.
The knock on Oklahoma City all year was that they don’t have someone to throw the ball into in the post when they need a bucket and the jumpers aren’t falling. That’s not true. They have someone they just don’t post him up enough.
Durant is efficient enough at scoring in the post and against the Spurs especially when Kawhi Leonard is usually covering him. Durant is 3-for-5 on post shots so far in the series, every time with Leonard on him.
While five shots is a small sample size, it does show that Durant is at least able to score down low. He just needs more touches down there.
This wasn’t Oklahoma City’s identity this season though. They would be changing what they’ve done all season long to get to this point by posting up Durant late in games.
But they definitely need to.
Durant has put up big numbers overall in the series but not so much in the fourth quarter. He has scored just 10 points so far in the fourth quarter combined in the first two games and that’s because he’s unable to get a lot of good touches.
The Spurs have done a good job denying him out on the perimeter and converging on him when he drives. Getting into the post would immediately increase Durant’s fourth quarter shot attempts.
Isn’t it obvious that the Thunder won’t be winning a title until they start doing this? Didn’t we see and say the same thing with Dirk Nowitzki?
There’s no reason the Thunder shouldn’t be doing this now especially because it would work. The Thunder have no problem trying to get Durant post touches in the first quarter but in the fourth he ends up running off a screen, not getting separation from his defender and basically posting up from the 3-point line.
Durant is the one who needs to demand this too. That’s part of what is so important about your best player posting up. You demand the ball in the post and you want your best player to demand the ball.
The title still feels so close to this Thunder team and that’s why it’s hard to simply say that they’re a year or two away and need to learn from their mistakes this year before they can win.
They have the talent now. They just need to make the necessary adjustments.