When was the last time you heard a player call out his own coach’s playoff defensive strategy?
Meet Kenyon Martin.
He watched Kevin Durant drop 41 on the Nuggets in Game 1 of the playoffs, hitting 13-of-22 shots and just dropping it in from everywhere on the court (he was 6-of-10 from the midrange and 3-of-6 from three). That after Durant had his way with the Nuggets a couple times near the end of the regular season.
Martin wants Durant to get the Kobe treatment, he told the Denver Post.
“Make him (pass it to) some one else. If you have him and (Russell) Westbrook on the court the same time, make Thabo Sefolosha and Serge Ibaka make plays. Run somebody at these guys. I don’t agree with (one-on-one) – we don’t let Kobe play one-on-one when we play him, no matter where he is on the court, so why would you let Kevin Durant play one-on-one.”
As Martin told The Denver Post on Sunday night, he believes that Denver’s small guards should not be the ones defending Durant.
“He shot right over Ray (Felton) like there was nobody guarding him,” Martin elaborated on Monday. “It doesn’t matter who you are, even if you’re the toughest defender in the world, (if you’re 6-1), he’s going to shoot right over him. You got to try something different, run somebody at him. Pick-and-roll? Jump on him. For three games, he’s been having his way with us – and I’m not comfortable with it.”
Kevin Durant has his way with a lot of people. The Nuggets, like most teams, don’t have a guy who can hang with a 6’10” player with good handles and quickness who can drain the three or post up.
But Martin is right — the Thunder’s offense is all about two guys and while Durant and Westbrook are going to get theirs no matter what, you want to make somebody else beat you. If James Harden goes off for 30+ and the Thunder win, you live with it. But try to keep it away from Durant.
However, Denver’s team style since the trade really hasn’t played like that. They may need to change it. They need to change something. While Denver made a real game of it Sunday, the fact is the Nuggets have played the Thunder three times in the last few weeks and lost every time. Three more times and their season is over. They have to do something, and slowing Durant is part of that.