What’chu Talkin’ ‘Bout, Willis?: KD’s evolution as a closer
Kevin Durant has become one of the best closers in the entire NBA.
KD’s evolution as a playmaker has helped him become a better closer.
Kevin scored 17 big points in the fourth quarter of Game 1 and led the league in fourth quarter points per game this past season.
Kevin has found a formula that best benefits him and Oklahoma City.
Kevin began his career as strictly a gifted scorer who was learning how to make his teammates better.
In his first four seasons, KD averaged 2.4, 2.8, 2.8, and 2.7 assists per game which is extremely low for someone who commands a double team every night.
Early in his career, Kevin would settle for fadeaway jumpers and be rattled by physical defenders down the stretch of a game.
His first four years he showed flashes of what we like to call the “clutch gene”. However this year, Kevin has become a killer in the fourth quarter and I believe I know why.
Kevin has began to pace himself throughout the game and create shots for others for the first three quarters.
Kevin’s huge improvement as a passer has taken the Thunder to a whole nother level. Now some hear pace yourself and they believe he is not playing hard.
Kevin Durant pacing himself is way different than any other player pacing themselves. KD has the luxury of having Russell Westbrook and James Harden who have the ability to take the game over with their scoring abilities.
I laugh at Thunder fans who tell Westbrook to stop shooting and to just give the ball to Kevin and move out the way. The more Russell is taking over in the second and third quarter equals more possessions KD can rest and save energy for a Kobe-like fourth quarter.
You can just see in KD’s eyes that when he looks up at the scoreboard and sees the fourth period is ahead that he turns into a different being.
If you had to build a player to close out a game for you in the fourth quarter you would come up with Kevin Durant.
You want your closer to be able to knock down shots from the outside because in the playoffs or NBA Finals it is much harder to get to the lane. You also want your closer to be able to play without the ball that way the defense cannot key on you.
The most important quality in a closer is the all or nothing attitude. Your closer cannot be afraid of failure. Your closer must except the circumstances and be able to put a dagger in the opposition’s heart.
Kevin is the personification of a closer and is widely considered the best player in the NBA. The scary thing is that he still has so much potential.
Disclaimer: The opinions and views expressed in this blog are the opinions of Brandon Willis and do not reflect the opinions or views of any other Pioneer employees.
To contact Brandon Willis, email firstname.lastname@example.org.