FiveThirtyEight recently released their player projections for the upcoming season, and fans feel that Kevin Durant is being disrespected.
Kevin Durant is the current majority opinion for being the league’s best player. Well, almost eliminating the incumbent champions Milwaukee Bucks single-handedly surely does that to your appeal. If not for a part of his foot on the line, the shot over PJ Tucker might have ranked amongst the best in league history.
Among his colleagues, the opinion on his game stays the same. Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo announced KD as the “best player in the world”. Jrue Holiday had remarked how it was almost like KD was “penetrating your brain” during his masterclasses.
Despite all of this, however, FiveThirtyEight’s most recent NBA analysis has the superstar categorized as a “Borderline All-Star”. Seems strange, doesn’t it? It does not end here. The model also has Lakers superstar Russell Westbrook as a “dubious starter”!
Not all of their evaluations were controversial, however. James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo are tagged rightfully as “MVP Candidates”, while Kawhi Leonard and Jayson Tatum were “All-Stars”. Grizzlies star point guard Ja Morant is also categorized as “Up and coming”. Why is there such disparity in the analysis?
Redditors also pointed out that Kevin Durant was relegated to the same category as players including Ben Simmons
As it turns out, FiveThirtyEight’s analysis is completely based on historical data and trends, having limited human intervention. A big factor in KD’s low projection is based on the obscenely low number of regular season games he’s played, which is 35 in the last 2 seasons.
Not only this, KD has managed to average only 63 games every season, which causes low confidence for him in the model. This is also the reason why Kawhi Leonard is actually categorized as an All-Star for his previous outputs. For context, the 2-time champ is expected to miss most of the season for an ACL tear.
We hope that KD can finally get back to his best in the regular season as well, with the Brooklyn Nets being strong favorites for the Larry O’Brien next season.