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View Full Version : Is Kevin Durant an Elite Defender?



Baller1
01-24-2013, 03:54 AM
Simple question, do you think that Kevin Durant is an elite defender?

Let's go over some numbers for those of you inclined to say that he's not:

We'll go with elementary statistics first. KD currently averages 1.6 steals per game. To compare to some other wings... Lebron averages 1.7, Tony Allen averages 1.7, and Metta World Peace averages 1.8. It's widely accepted that these players are some of the elite perimeter defenders in the entire NBA. KD's 1.6 currently outdoes other elite wing defenders such as Andre Iguodala, Nicolas Batum, and Kobe Bryant (he's not elite, but I threw him in there for Kobe fans' ego's sake).

Now, let's look at KD's blocks per game. He currently averages 1.2 blocks per game. Nothing to boast about, but then lets look at that compared to the same players that he competes with in steals:

MWP - 0.6
Lebron - 0.8
George - 0.7
Batum - 1.1

I'll stop there because there's an obvious trend... None stack up to KD's total except for Batum (although he is outdone by KD in both). In other words, KD is one of the few in the NBA averaging 1 of each stat (blocks AND steals) per game. Here's the short list of those players, all of who are viewed as above average to elite defenders:

Kevin Durant
Marc Gasol
Joakim Noah
Nicolas Batum
Andrei Kerilenko
Anthony Davis
Josh Smith

LINK. (http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&match=single&type=per_game&per_minute_base=36&lg_id=NBA&is_playoffs=N&year_min=2013&year_max=2013&franch_id=&season_start=1&season_end=-1&age_min=0&age_max=99&height_min=0&height_max=99&birth_country_is=Y&birth_country=&is_active=&is_hof=&is_as=&as_comp=gt&as_val=&pos_is_g=Y&pos_is_gf=Y&pos_is_f=Y&pos_is_fg=Y&pos_is_fc=Y&pos_is_c=Y&pos_is_cf=Y&qual=&c1stat=stl_per_g&c1comp=gt&c1val=1&c2stat=blk_per_g&c2comp=gt&c2val=1&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&c5stat=&c5comp=gt&c6mult=1.0&c6stat=&order_by=ws)

Alright, those stats are relatively irrelevant anyway, so on to the ones that matter.

Kevin Durant currently ranks #8 in defensive win shares on the season. Every single player other than Paul George who is above him on this list is a big man, and the names include elite defenders such as Tim Duncan and Joakim Noah.

Kevin Durant currently owns a defensive rating of 101. For comparison's sake, Lebron James currently has a defensive rating of 102, while Kobe's weighs in at 108.

All of these stats/comparisons can be done here. (http://www.basketball-reference.com/)

I can jump to 82games.com and grab some more, but I'm tired for now.

So, do you feel that Kevin Durant is an elite defender in the NBA?

seikou8
01-24-2013, 03:56 AM
of course this season

tredigs
01-24-2013, 04:00 AM
Well, no small forward on the Warriors made a basket tonight, so that counts for something. He even switched up and tried to guard Curry and J.Jack, it was impressive. Curry didn't even try to take him either.

Chronz
01-24-2013, 04:02 AM
Its very tough to figure out when that player makes that leap, but last year I thought to myself, if Durant is soo good defensively, why are the Thunder not an elite defensive team, given that they have Thabo/Ibaka/Perkins/Collison and the most athletic PG in the game? Shouldn't they be the most suffocating defensive team in the league? Whats holding them back, Coaching?

Baller1
01-24-2013, 04:04 AM
Its very tough to figure out when that player makes that leap, but last year I thought to myself, if Durant is soo good defensively, why are the Thunder not an elite defensive team, given that they have Thabo/Ibaka/Perkins/Collison and the most athletic PG in the game? Shouldn't they be the most suffocating defensive team in the league? Whats holding them back, Coaching?

Well from an individual view, the team loses four full points of defensive production when Durant heads to the bench. Obviously that doesn't new everything, but I'd say that's a pretty big factor when looking at KD's individual defensive impact.

Hardaway Here
01-24-2013, 04:14 AM
Its very tough to figure out when that player makes that leap, but last year I thought to myself, if Durant is soo good defensively, why are the Thunder not an elite defensive team, given that they have Thabo/Ibaka/Perkins/Collison and the most athletic PG in the game? Shouldn't they be the most suffocating defensive team in the league? Whats holding them back, Coaching?

I'd say coaching plays a big part in it. I hardly ever see Thunder trap and press. As young as they are you would think they're D would be more suffocating. Also blocks and steals don't tell the whole story, but I do believe he is better on D this year than he was last year.

DanG
01-24-2013, 06:18 AM
What does separate Lebron and Durant then?

John Walls Era
01-24-2013, 06:19 AM
What does separate Lebron and Durant then?

Handling, Playmaking, Athleticism, Size, Strength.... but yeah nothing much..............

arealballer
01-24-2013, 06:30 AM
I rarely watch Durant on the defensive end, since I tend to focus on his scoring. Having said that, he does have elite defensive stats, and his length allows him to be a great defender in theory.

I watched his defensive play last season in the playoffs closely and he absolutely wants to be a top level defender. Durant is not quite the athletic freak that Lebron is (who is?), but Durant is far more focused and hungry this year than ever before.

Alayla
01-24-2013, 06:43 AM
Simple question, do you think that Kevin Durant is an elite defender?

Let's go over some numbers for those of you inclined to say that he's not:

We'll go with elementary statistics first. KD currently averages 1.6 steals per game. To compare to some other wings... Lebron averages 1.7, Tony Allen averages 1.7, and Metta World Peace averages 1.8. It's widely accepted that these players are some of the elite perimeter defenders in the entire NBA. KD's 1.6 currently outdoes other elite wing defenders such as Andre Iguodala, Nicolas Batum, and Kobe Bryant (he's not elite, but I threw him in there for Kobe fans' ego's sake).

Now, let's look at KD's blocks per game. He currently averages 1.2 blocks per game. Nothing to boast about, but then lets look at that compared to the same players that he competes with in steals:

MWP - 0.6
Lebron - 0.8
George - 0.7
Batum - 1.1

I'll stop there because there's an obvious trend... None stack up to KD's total except for Batum (although he is outdone by KD in both). In other words, KD is one of the few in the NBA averaging 1 of each stat (blocks AND steals) per game. Here's the short list of those players, all of who are viewed as above average to elite defenders:

Kevin Durant
Marc Gasol
Joakim Noah
Nicolas Batum
Andrei Kerilenko
Anthony Davis
Josh Smith

LINK. (http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&match=single&type=per_game&per_minute_base=36&lg_id=NBA&is_playoffs=N&year_min=2013&year_max=2013&franch_id=&season_start=1&season_end=-1&age_min=0&age_max=99&height_min=0&height_max=99&birth_country_is=Y&birth_country=&is_active=&is_hof=&is_as=&as_comp=gt&as_val=&pos_is_g=Y&pos_is_gf=Y&pos_is_f=Y&pos_is_fg=Y&pos_is_fc=Y&pos_is_c=Y&pos_is_cf=Y&qual=&c1stat=stl_per_g&c1comp=gt&c1val=1&c2stat=blk_per_g&c2comp=gt&c2val=1&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&c5stat=&c5comp=gt&c6mult=1.0&c6stat=&order_by=ws)

Alright, those stats are relatively irrelevant anyway, so on to the ones that matter.

Kevin Durant currently ranks #8 in defensive win shares on the season. Every single player other than Paul George who is above him on this list is a big man, and the names include elite defenders such as Tim Duncan and Joakim Noah.

Kevin Durant currently owns a defensive rating of 101. For comparison's sake, Lebron James currently has a defensive rating of 102, while Kobe's weighs in at 108.

All of these stats/comparisons can be done here. (http://www.basketball-reference.com/)

I can jump to 82games.com and grab some more, but I'm tired for now.

So, do you feel that Kevin Durant is an elite defender in the NBA?

No and not a single one of those stats is any good at measuring a player defensively. The first 2 being counting stats. The 2nd 2 being more team based.

DanG
01-24-2013, 07:25 AM
No and not a single one of those stats is any good at measuring a player defensively. The first 2 being counting stats. The 2nd 2 being more team based.

What about this one?

Opponent's efficiency

Durant: 9.5
LeBron: 14.6
Melo: 15,2

HowFit
01-24-2013, 07:37 AM
Yes...

NYKnickFanatic
01-24-2013, 08:39 AM
No.

kozelkid
01-24-2013, 09:23 AM
Yes. He has been since last year.

NYKnickFanatic
01-24-2013, 09:44 AM
Yes. He has been since last year.

Can he win DPOY?

JasonJohnHorn
01-24-2013, 10:08 AM
I haven't gotten to watch Durant play much this season (last I saw him was in the finals), but I do look at his box scores every night. He is certainly putting up the numbers to suggest that he is among the best defenders at his position. His height allows him to contest shots better than most at his position, and he has the work ethic. So without having gotten to watch him play this season, and judging solely on his stats, I'd have to say yes, but to have a real good answer I'd have to watch him play some more.

Bullsfan22
01-24-2013, 11:44 AM
I look at this question in a different light. Statistically the answer is yes but when you break down how he gets those staggering numbers I tend to back away from calling him elite. For KD those numbers aren't all that surprising to be honest because of his length and work ethic. I believe he's more in the mold of a Kerilenko type defender than a candidate to win defensive player of the year. How good does he have to be to be elite? I don't think he's the caliber defender of guys like LeBron, iggy, Batum or Ron Artest (from a few years ago). That's just my opinion even with the knowledge of those stats. Is Carmelo an Elite scorer? Yes, because he can score in many different ways but he's certainly not the caliber of scorer like guys like LeBron and KD because they impact that side of the floor through efficiency. Kevin Durant may very well be an elite defender based off his ability to impact the defensive side of the ball by playing the passing lanes and blocking shots based off his length but I'd trust guys like LeBron, iggy, Batum to go out and stiffle their assignment way before I do KD.

nolafan33
01-24-2013, 11:46 AM
KD allows 0.85 points per play. So I'd say close to it.

LeBron gets a lot of compliments about his D, he allows 0.88 ppp.

Iggy allows 0.73 ppp. Tony Allen allows 0.75 ppp. That is elite.

Baller1
01-24-2013, 12:07 PM
No and not a single one of those stats is any good at measuring a player defensively. The first 2 being counting stats. The 2nd 2 being more team based.

I don't really have to answer that, because all you gotta do is read through the thread. There are plenty of other numbers to suggest he's an elite defender.

ManRam
01-24-2013, 12:12 PM
KD allows 0.85 points per play. So I'd say close to it.

LeBron gets a lot of compliments about his D, he allows 0.88 ppp.

Iggy allows 0.73 ppp. Tony Allen allows 0.75 ppp. That is elite.

LeBron probably gets a little boost because he can defend multiple positions at a very high level. He might not shut any one position down like Iggy or Allen, but he can do a great job against a wide variety of players.


As for KD, I haven't seen enough of him this year to really say. Last year he was getting close, for sure. "Elite" is a very subjective word...I'm not sure I'm ready to label KD that. But again, all I got are these same stats...but defense is something that the eye test can gauge well.

justinnum1
01-24-2013, 12:16 PM
elite? no

very good? yes

ILLUSIONIST^248
01-24-2013, 12:36 PM
elite? no

very good? yes

This

JiffyMix88
01-24-2013, 01:24 PM
I don't really have to answer that, because all you gotta do is read through the thread. There are plenty of other numbers to suggest he's an elite defender.

off topic but you should probably change your sig since he joined them at that bar a week later

Carey
01-24-2013, 01:52 PM
When he wants to he's very good, when he's not engaged he can be very bad lol. Good thing is he's cut the deficit this year of how much he's not interested. I love the fact that he values the routine contest of a shot, so many young players dont get that concept. With all that said he's not elite defensively but if he really put in the effort i think he could possibly. Difference between him and Lebron is LBJ is so strong that it's easier for him to play D without fouling.

jayjay33
01-24-2013, 01:57 PM
Damn 70% say No. That's even bigger than I expected. :D

OceanSpray
01-24-2013, 03:39 PM
Just by reading your post, defensive rating doesn't prove anything. Kobe can't defend for his life. I don't care what the rating says, watch a game and see how he gets blown by or lets the player drive pass him. Howard and Phil Jackson both called him out on his defense and he still got all NBA defensive team. Sorry, don't judge it over rating.

Durant is not an elite defender. He's working his way and has improved since last year but he's not rotating on defense and doesn't defend the best player each game like LeBron does.

Hawkeye15
01-24-2013, 03:40 PM
I don't think he has joined elite yet, but he is a good defender. His length helps offset his lack of strength, and he is a smart defender.

Nats_vcu-Okc35
01-24-2013, 04:25 PM
If not yet, I'll say he gets there in the next two years. I watch them frequently and he can be a step slow on his rotations, and the whole team suffers inexplicable occasional lapses on defense. You'll know if its an okc-heat finals rematch, and he guards and can slow down Lebron over a series.

Baller1
01-24-2013, 04:27 PM
Just by reading your post, defensive rating doesn't prove anything. Kobe can't defend for his life. I don't care what the rating says, watch a game and see how he gets blown by or lets the player drive pass him. Howard and Phil Jackson both called him out on his defense and he still got all NBA defensive team. Sorry, don't judge it over rating.

Durant is not an elite defender. He's working his way and has improved since last year but he's not rotating on defense and doesn't defend the best player each game like LeBron does.

The lower the better, therefore Kobe's rating is worse than KD's and Lebron's and not very good.

OceanSpray
01-24-2013, 04:45 PM
The lower the better, therefore Kobe's rating is worse than KD's and Lebron's and not very good.

I took his word for it but defensive rating doesn't mean anything. Kobe's rating was higher than Wade/LeBron/Durant last year but he still got into the NBA all defensive first team. The ratings are garbage and false. The league will always give Kobe it because he's Kobe.

Chronz
01-24-2013, 04:49 PM
I took his word for it but defensive rating doesn't mean anything. Kobe's rating was higher than Wade/LeBron/Durant last year but he still got into the NBA all defensive first team. The ratings are garbage and false. The league will always give Kobe it because he's Kobe.

So your saying the stats are garbage and false even though they agree with you that Kobe shouldn't be making All-Defensive teams? LOL thats a first, usually people welcome objective confirmation.

Baller1
01-24-2013, 04:51 PM
I took his word for it but defensive rating doesn't mean anything. Kobe's rating was higher than Wade/LeBron/Durant last year but he still got into the NBA all defensive first team. The ratings are garbage and false. The league will always give Kobe it because he's Kobe.

Dude, I think you're mixing it up. Kobe has a HIGH defensive rating, which is BAD.

Therefore, you're completely agreeing with the stat. That's what I was trying to explain to you.

The lower defensive rating, the better. So KD and Lebron both have very good defensive ratings.

OceanSpray
01-24-2013, 05:04 PM
Dude, I think you're mixing it up. Kobe has a HIGH defensive rating, which is BAD.

Therefore, you're completely agreeing with the stat. That's what I was trying to explain to you.

The lower defensive rating, the better. So KD and Lebron both have very good defensive ratings.

No I'm not. I'm just saying defensive rating is irrelevant since it can be due to the fact of rotations and etc. The fact is when you watch Kobe play, he doesn't play defense regardless of who's on the rotation and the player he's guarding. I don't agree with defensive rating stats because there's a lot of factors going into it. The system they play is not defensive minded. The fact is NBA management will always avoid the facts and stats and will choose Kobe as NBA 1st defensive team because he's Kobe.

texanmonstra011
01-24-2013, 05:30 PM
Is durant an elite defender?

No.

Im_in_Mia_bish
01-25-2013, 02:54 AM
to answer this question, you must imagine a scenario where you are up by 2, and you need a stop. would you put durant on their go to scorer, or say someone like sefolosha? the answer.. sefolosha.

Durant is a very good defender and those stats are proof that he shows effort on defense.
however to be elite, its more than stats. its about making the person youre guarding take the toughest shot available.

for instance, paul pierce loves going to his left off the hop step to create seperation. an elite defender would make him go to the right to not make him feel comfortable, even if he makes the shot.

durants frame limits him to that extent, however his length does trouble plenty of players he guards.

so in conclusion, the answer is no, he isnt an elite defender, but he is a year or two away from being an elite defender.

rockbottom2010
01-25-2013, 03:29 AM
not even close

Minimal
01-25-2013, 02:57 PM
Yes. He has been since last year.
LeBron obliterated him in the finals last year as i remember.

NYKnickFanatic
01-25-2013, 03:23 PM
No, not even close.

kozelkid
01-25-2013, 03:52 PM
Can he win DPOY?

Pretty hard when you don't have a stable defensive system (hence the reason I've been calling Brooks overrated for quite some time). I can only imagine how ridiculous that team's defense would have been had they had Thibs or even Ron Adams remained with them.

He definitely has the talent and ability, but again, until they are coached properly at that end, the overall team results aren't there for him to win it.

kozelkid
01-25-2013, 03:55 PM
LeBron obliterated him in the finals last year as i remember.

Then you remember incorrectly. Lebron averaged less than 30ppg, while shooting poor behind the arc and below 50% from the field. Durant obviously didn't shut him down, but then again, no one shuts down Lebron ****ing James. At the same time, relatively speaking, Lebron wasn't his usual dominant self. Still ****ing good so it's obviously relatively speaking.

tredigs
01-25-2013, 03:56 PM
OKC's actually rated 6th in defensive efficiency by Hollinger's model, Miami 12th for comparison.

kozelkid
01-25-2013, 04:10 PM
OKC's actually rated 6th in defensive efficiency by Hollinger's model, Miami 12th for comparison.

Really? Pretty big improvement from last season. I suppose I need to pay attention to them more this season.

TornadoOfSouls
01-25-2013, 05:31 PM
Durant's dominance comes at the offensive end. He's nothing special defensively though. Never seen him lock anyone down. And his team has never been among the best in the league defensively(I'm talking top 5). So anybody even suggesting him for DPOY is out of their god-damn mind. Above average defensively? Yes. Elite? NO. Durant's not even the best wing defender on his own team. Sefolosha's better.

Minimal
01-25-2013, 06:09 PM
Then you remember incorrectly. Lebron averaged less than 30ppg, while shooting poor behind the arc and below 50% from the field. Durant obviously didn't shut him down, but then again, no one shuts down Lebron ****ing James. At the same time, relatively speaking, Lebron wasn't his usual dominant self. Still ****ing good so it's obviously relatively speaking.
Yeah, but LeBron made Durant to get in foul trouble like in every game except for the first one.

Blitzbolt
01-25-2013, 06:11 PM
Opps I press yes by mistake.KD is long and that helps him but he is a average Defender at best.

JC_
01-25-2013, 06:54 PM
LeBron obliterated him in the finals last year as i remember.

Yep. Durant was pretty bad against Lebron in the finals. I was actually shaking my head wondering what the hell Durant was doing and wondering why he was guarding Lebron lol

rockbottom2010
01-25-2013, 07:00 PM
bucketss thinks durant is an elite defender....i was like hahahha....then i shut him up afterwards.....

majmarcus
01-25-2013, 07:26 PM
Durant ain't no muhphucking elite defender! Everything is numbers. A bad friggin pass can lead to steal. Does that make the recipient a great defender? Same thing with bad shot selection leading to a block. Smh, actual ON BALL DEFENSE doesn't count for anything in sports today. You guys run to the stat column, look up numbers, and attempt to measure everything by as much.

Remember when the Cowboys beat the Steelers in the SB and Larry Brown got those 2 int's and was awarded MVP? Yeah, looking at stats would easily lead ignorance of the mind to think he put in work. But watching it happen you'll quickly come to the conclusion that a corpse could've caught those passes. Name a defender who actually move their feet staying in front of the ball handler with good/great ball handling skills then get back to me.

The numbers game is an easy way out and therefore doesn't always summarize the truth. Common case of pathetic and Lazy

justinnum1
01-25-2013, 07:35 PM
Yep. Durant was pretty bad against Lebron in the finals. I was actually shaking my head wondering what the hell Durant was doing and wondering why he was guarding Lebron lol

scott brooks ftw

Baller1
01-25-2013, 07:54 PM
Pretty hard when you don't have a stable defensive system (hence the reason I've been calling Brooks overrated for quite some time). I can only imagine how ridiculous that team's defense would have been had they had Thibs or even Ron Adams remained with them.

He definitely has the talent and ability, but again, until they are coached properly at that end, the overall team results aren't there for him to win it.

I don't think it will ever happen, for the same reason Lebron won't get one.

Look how long it took people to finally accept that Lebron was/is a dominant defender.

kozelkid
01-25-2013, 09:01 PM
I don't think it will ever happen, for the same reason Lebron won't get one.

Look how long it took people to finally accept that Lebron was/is a dominant defender.

For what it's worth, I don't expect it to happen. I do think Lebron can potentially land one in the next 2 years though. That is, before Anthony Davis makes his surge at like 2-3+.

Baller1
01-25-2013, 09:49 PM
For what it's worth, I don't expect it to happen. I do think Lebron can potentially land one in the next 2 years though. That is, before Anthony Davis makes his surge at like 2-3+.

Oh I know, I agree that Durant will never get one. Lebron will have a better shot, but I don't see him getting one either.

I meant more towards finally being seen as an elite defender. Lebron has been top tier in defense for at least 4-5 years now, and it took until last year for people to accept/realize it. I see the same thing happening to KD.

Im_in_Mia_bish
01-25-2013, 09:54 PM
bottom line is if the thunder need someone to guard the oppenents best scorer.. who will scott brooks put on that person.. durant or sefolosha?

and that will answer your question.

durantula is a beast on the offensive end, and a very active on the defensive end. thats where it ends, he cant play shut down one on one that iggy, lebron, tony allen, sefolosha can. or like kobe or paul pierce used to.

durant will get there in time. not yet.

Baller1
01-25-2013, 10:00 PM
bottom line is if the thunder need someone to guard the oppenents best scorer.. who will scott brooks put on that person.. durant or sefolosha?

and that will answer your question.

durantula is a beast on the offensive end, and a very active on the defensive end. thats where it ends, he cant play shut down one on one that iggy, lebron, tony allen, sefolosha can. or like kobe or paul pierce used to.

durant will get there in time. not yet.

That's not true. Since last seasons playoff run, KD is the man assigned to guard the other teams best player (late in games though, not for the entire game yet). But also, if the teams best player is a SF, Durant IS the one guarding him. It's not like Brooks hides KD behind Sefalosha.

Im_in_Mia_bish
01-25-2013, 10:08 PM
That's not true. Since last seasons playoff run, KD is the man assigned to guard the other teams best player (late in games though, not for the entire game yet). But also, if the teams best player is a SF, Durant IS the one guarding him. It's not like Brooks hides KD behind Sefalosha.

last year finals, sef was on lebron during clutch. when lebron cramped up, he drained a 3 on sef. sef was on lebron during the clutch from what i remember.

same thing when the thunder play the lakers, sef is on kobe during the clutch.
i know kobe plays sg and all, but u kinda get my point..

Im_in_Mia_bish
01-25-2013, 10:10 PM
now im not saying it as if durant will never guard the opposing players best player during clutch, he does.

that doesnt change my point that he is a very good defender, but he isnt an elite defender yet.. he will be soon.

OceanSpray
01-25-2013, 10:43 PM
Good defender because of his long arms and speed. Not an elite defender because he's terrible on rotations and sleeps a lot.

koreancabbage
01-26-2013, 12:20 AM
unless he wins a 1st defensive team i don't think he is. People are gonna recognize when he does become one. so there isn't a point in arguing it until he starts climbing those ranks.

he's a phenomenal player and only getting better. very scary player to play against. The only thing that could probably hold him back are bad teammates and injuries.

texanmonstra011
01-26-2013, 02:31 AM
....he's just not.