With 4:30 left in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s game vs. the Utah Jazz, Kevin Durant found Russell Westbrook open for a three-pointer to give the Thunder an 82-70 lead.
That was Durant’s ninth assist of the game, leaving him just one away from getting a triple-double. Durant knew it and tried very hard the last four minutes to get it.
He only took one more shot in the game and made it. He was immediately looking for an open teammate whenever he received the ball and even seemed mad on one occasion when they didn’t immediately shoot what was a pretty open look.
This isn’t the first we’ve heard of Durant caring about his stats and being aware of them in the game. ESPN’s David Thorpe brought this up a few weeks ago recalling a time when Durant was upset because he wasn’t credited with a basket properly.
You can see it watching Durant too like last night or when he recorded his first triple-double of his career earlier this season vs. the Golden State Warriors. When he got that 10th assist in that game, he looked relieved and smiled about it.
It’s pretty much proven then that Durant is obsessed with his stats. This can’t be that bad of thing considering he is having his best statistical season of his career this year. But last night it did seem like it could have hurt the Thunder, Durant trying so hard for that triple-double, had Utah come back and won.
It is clear that Durant is chasing LeBron James in this regard. He wants to be a player like LeBron who is hyper-efficient with an all-around game. Again, nothing is really wrong with that but you’d like the game to come to Durant instead of him forcing it.
LeBron is actually another player that keeps track of his own stats. He admitted to it years ago and would say that if he had only a few assists at halftime then he would try and get his teammates involved more in the second half. Clearly, this has never been an issue for LeBron.
It is concerning though to know that Durant thinks this way. I guess it’s hard to imagine it ever coming in the way of winning, especially in the playoffs, but who knows.
The other interesting dynamic to this is that Durant plays with Westbrook, who clearly isn’t concerned of keeping track of his stats. I don’t know what it means but it is interesting.
Hopefully, we never think about this again once the playoffs start. We probably won’t.