An Eastern Conference scout does not anoint Kevin Durant as the best player in the series as he believes that to be Jayson Tatum.
The way that Kevin Durant has been defended in Games 1 and 2 against the Boston Celtics explains why they were the number one ranked defense in the entire NBA this regular season. Ime Udoka finally got everybody from his star players in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to the last guy on the bench to buy into his philosophy.
The Celtics have been on the precipice of greatness for nearly half a decade now. They lost in the Eastern Conference Finals in both 2018 and 2020 and were booted from the first round last season by Durant and his Brooklyn Nets. Not to mention the atrocious ECSF against the Bucks in 2019 where they lost 4 in a row after winning Game 1.
However, this 2022 NBA season feels different as their defensive intensity and scheme is on a level that could win it all if they were to reach the NBA Finals.
Kevin Durant has had to live off the charity stripe to get his points up as he’s clearly not himself when trying to knock down buckets from the field.
Jayson Tatum over Kevin Durant, according to a scout.
In a recent ‘The Athletic’ piece, several Eastern Conference and Western Conference scouts were asked about their thoughts on the Celtics-Nets series. One particular scout from the East didn’t mince his words when he firmly stated his belief that Durant was not the best player in this series.
NBA scout says he’d take Tatum over KD ‘from this point forward’
“if you’re watching the game and you didn’t know who these guys were,I’m not watching Durant(and saying),‘That’s the best player on the floor.’ I’m not so sure Tatum’s not (the best)”
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) April 23, 2022
The rest of the scouts talked about the same thing: the Celtics’ suffocating defense. They look to switch everything and with guys like Grant Williams and Daniel Thies moving their feet well, it’s almost impossible to have a mismatch.
The fact that there’s always a double team waiting for Kevin Durant or at the very least a second man like Jayson Tatum shadowing him at all times is what is leading to the Celts’ success.
With the next two games moving over to Brooklyn, it’ll be interesting to see if KD can utilize the home crowd to perhaps get himself going once again.