Many people have called Kevin Durant the greatest scorer of this century, and now we have some solid statistical evidence for it.
KD won 4 scoring titles in a 5-year stretch with the Oklahoma City Thunder. This was at a time when Russell Westbrook was yet to reach his MVP-level form.
Once Russ began asserting himself as the team’s primary ballhandler, Durant began to defer more. His shot attempts remained low during his time with the Warriors, but he became more efficient from the 3-point line and the midrange than ever before.
ESPN released a statistical breakdown of why Kevin Durant is an exception to the dying midrange rule. Kirk Goldsberry gave an overview of how KD has become a midfield maestro beyond anyone in the league today.
We take a look at some of the salient features of the presentation on the Slim Reaper.
How Kevin Durant is bucking the trend from the mid-range
Goldsberry begins his analysis at around the 1:20 mark of the video linked below with the following statements:
“Since 2013-14, KD is the only player averaging better than a point per possession on a midrange jumper. 99 players have attempted over 1000 non-layup twos, and nobody has been as efficient as Durant.”
The stats are downright unbelievable – the average mid-range jumper nets 0.82 points per possession across the NBA. Durant raises the bar by nearly 25% on his shots, draining 49.9% of them and averaging 1.02 pointers per possession.
This season, despite coming off an Achilles tear that cost him all of 2019-20, KD is averaging a mind-boggling 1.09 points per mid-range possession. The most amazing part of all this is that 95% of those shots can be considered as ‘contested’ mid-range jumpers.
The key, obviously, is KD’s 6’11” height and 7’5″ wingspan, which gives him a free shot over everyone. Yet, it takes thousands of gym hours of practice from each of his sweet spots to be the ‘Easymoneysniper’.