When you’re a former MVP, the greatest shooter on the planet, and a guy who averaged 32 points a game your last full season, people think offense when they think of you. With good reason.
But Kevin Durant knows if the Thunder are going to compete for a title, it is their middle-of-the-pack defense from last season that has to improve. And Durant told Erik Horne of the Oklahoman he’s going to be the change he wants to see.
“I think that’s an underrated part of my game,” Durant said Tuesday. “I feel like I can guard 1 through 4. I can switch with bigs and point guards, and I can use my length a lot….
“Shotblocking I think is one of my strong suits as well. I just have to be totally focused every single possession on it, and I haven’t done a good job of that. But once I’m locked in and focused on what I have to do as a defender, I think I’m pretty good.”
Durant is an underrated defender — he’s right in that he’s good at using his length to disrupt on that end. The issue in the past has been focus, but during his MVP season he played well on that end. He’s also a good rebounder.
How new coach Billy Donovan will set up the Thunder defense is something to watch as the season gets rolling, but he’s got a lot of good chess pieces to work with. Things look a lot better when Serge Ibaka is patrolling the paint. The Thunder getting their defense into the top 10 will be one of the keys to them getting out of the West and contending for a title.
Oh, and Durant will score plenty, too. He’s a guy you may want to try to get on your fantasy team.