For the past few weeks, Kevin Durant has been carrying the Oklahoma City Thunder.
But is he also carrying the ball?
Washington beat the Oklahoma City on Saturday night, snapping the Thunder’s 10-game win streak mostly because they held the super-efficient Durant to an 8-of-21 shooting night.
Then after the game Wizards big man Nene threw out this little barb when J. Michael of CSNWashington.com asked how they slowed KD down.
“First of all, pray,” he said of how the Wizards were able to hold Durant to 8-for-21 shooting. “Second, have good luck. The third do your best. That dude is very skilled, long body, tall, skinny but strong for that kind of body — and the referees are allowing him to carry the ball.”
The first sign you’ve hit it really big? Everyone starts taking shots at you. Congratulations KD, you’ve finally made it.
I went and looked at some video of Durant coming off the pick-and-roll, plus as the ball handler in transition to see if he does carry and my thought is no more than anyone else in the league.
Part of it is Durant’s length creates the perception of hit because he can come off a pick and keep the ball a little farther away from his body if he wants. The way he moves with the ball when attacking can make it look like a carry at times — but the same is true of Tony Parker and John Wall, not to mention pretty much every guy with a good crossover in the league.
When Durant is idly dribbling the ball out top as the play sets up, you could argue he does carry it at times. If you want a strict interpretation of the rule.
But if you’re going to call KD on that you’re going to start calling half the guys in the league for the same thing because you’re changing how the rule is enforced. And certainly one thing that would make the NBA more fun is more referee whistles. Can’t get enough of those.