The 2016-2017 NBA season is still young, but Kevin Durant's shiny offensive game, as showcased in a gleaming new Golden State Warriors offensive system, has already taken a back seat to his defensive prowess.
Through 26 games, Durant is holding the man he guards to a shooting percentage 3.6 percent lower than his opponent's season average, according to nba.com. It gets even better when his opponent shoots from 6 feet or closer, an area where shooting percentages usually exceed 60 percent. When guarded by Durant? They're 8.8 percentage points worse.
It's no coincidence, then, that the Warriors version of Durant is averaging 1.7 blocks per game, the most of his career. And last night, against the New Orleans Pelicans, Durant had himself a one-man block party, none bigger than his massive swat of Anthony Davis (that's not a typo) with 35 seconds left in the game and the Warriors up 3. Look at this:
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) December 14, 2016
Davis ran a pick and roll with Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday, and when he rolled to the rim with Klay Thompson trailing a step behind, it looked like a Davis layup was a forgone conclusion. But there was Durant, rotating into the paint and blocking the snot out of one of the NBA's best players.
— NBA (@NBA) December 14, 2016
That wasn't Durant's only block of the game, though. Oh no. In the waning seconds of the third quarter, he hit poor E'Twaun Moore with a chasedown block—à la LeBron James—that was equally filthy.
If he wasn't one already, Kevin Durant has fully morphed into a defensive wizard.
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