Kevin Durant is generally considered one of the best players in the world, and he’s shown us why he’s an unstoppable scorer at times this playoffs.
But lately, his play has been as inconsistent as ever. Not only is shooting not always there, but his effort rebounding and on the defensive end have been rough. Is it a scheme problem, mental issue, or just luck?
First of all, KD is simply doing too many ISO’s.
Holy crap.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) June 1, 2018
Per Synergy Sports, last year, Kevin Durant had 37 isolation possessions in the playoffs, total.
He has 128 this postseason.
This has led to inefficient offense and poor passing. Over the last five games, Durant has only shot over 38% from the field once, and generally been a rut in the Warriors’ offensive style.
Meanwhile, Stephen Curry has been amazing the past few games, proving the Warriors can go on runs when the ball is in his hands. It could be a mental issue of KD trying to do too much on offense, and trying too hard to get his own.
A lot of the KD isolations slow down the pace and get the Warriors out of their comfort zone offensively. His mid-post isolations on smaller defenders have not been working for a while, and I’d ditch them. He does a lot better when he’s in space, at the top of the key, driving into the paint: he’s a better passer in those situations, and can get to the free throw line almost at will.
Some of the mid-range shots he’s bound to hit, sooner or later. But he should still make an effort to drive all the way to rim. As long as he protects the ball, he can finish over either smaller guys like George Hill or slower guys like Kevin Love. Attacking the basket immediately after the switch, instead of waiting until the very end of the shot clock, will cause more confusion and increase the pace as well.
Man, KD needs to box out. Not only was he bullied by PJ Tucker down low last series, be he also gave up way too many easy boards to Cleveland in Game 1, most noticeably to JR Smith with four seconds remaining off George Hill’s missed free throw.
Maybe Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson need to help more on the boards, but KD is a half a foot taller than these guys. He needs to embrace the physicality and box out well.
The Warriors do miss Andre Iguodala and his defensive chops. In his absence, Kevin Durant had problems navigating the screens Cleveland set all game long. At first, the Warriors tried to not switch the screens on LeBron James, but KD often miscommunicated or couldn’t shake the screen.
The Warriors may opt to switch everything in Game 2, and take their chances with Steph Curry switched on LeBron James. In that case, Durant must be more engaged as a help defender.
Overall, Kevin Durant had a weak performance in Game 1. He needs to be much more engaged defensively, and box out with vigor on rebounds. Offensively, he should let Steph Curry cook and choose his spots more carefully, with a focus on getting to the line. Playing within the flow of the game and putting in the attention to detail on both ends is how he ended up the Finals MVP last June. Let’s get back to that.