Durant’s First Triple-Double About More Than Just Statistics

 

The only startling part about Kevin Durant‘s Sunday night in Oklahoma City was that his 25 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists against the Warriors marked the first career triple-double in 391 games, despite having all the talent and playing time. That made it a milestone.

The situation as a whole, though, is what made it important.

Not just the 119-109 victory for the Thunder. This is about at least the entire season and probably longer, as OKC adjusts its offense and learns to move forward without James Harden as the No. 2 distributor behind point guard Russell Westbrook.

Durant had been No. 3 and, starting about nine months ago, was earning praise from the Thunder for unselfishly expanding his lethal offense as an improved passer. Turnovers were a problem, and still are, but the message all along has been clear: Facing so many double teams allows the All-Star small forward to find an open man and create shots for others. What a luxury to have.

When Harden was traded to the Rockets, that luxury was dealt, too. OKC suddenly needed Durant to walk the wire better than ever, to get teammates involved while remembering that, oh, yeah, he is Kevin Durant.

“I was a passer,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks, a former point guard, said in the Oklahoman. “I couldn’t make plays. Kevin can make plays. And by doing that he helps our guys get easy shots with his passes. That’s what he’s worked on.”

That is what made Sunday against the Warriors meaningful, much more significant than just being Durant’s first triple-double. It was clean passing, with two turnovers in 39 minutes to briefly counter Durant’s continuing turnover problem. It was the most-tangible sign yet of a shifting game.

As Darnell Mayberry wrote in the Oklahoman:

Durant has sacrificed, both shots and scoring, for the greater good.

Through 11 games he’s averaging 16.5 shots, a career-low that is 0.6 fewer than he attempted as a 19-year-old rookie. His 24.5-point scoring average is the lowest since his rookie year.

Yet his 4.6 assists per game currently are 1.1 per game more than last year’s career best output. That effort has helped the Thunder, which finished dead last in assists per game a year ago, shoot up to the middle of the pack this year with a 22.4 average.

It was one game, with the additional reality-check that Durant has also had three outings this month alone with six turnovers and another one with five. And, he cannot fade too far away from scoring sensation, a development opponents would cheer. But the numbers, on Sunday and for the season, mean something. It means continuing to evolve when adjusting has gone from beneficial to necessary.

30 Comments

  1. Robin Dequan says:

    Russel Westbrook is the best pg all time. Period.

  2. lenny says:

    to bigwes95 was lebron the only reason. one track mind. there are other factors that came into play. tell me if bosh wasn’t in miami if he would have a championship. we’ll see with a regular season if he holds up

  3. BogsMuff says:

    LBJ is overrated fools. KD is king. Wake up

  4. dattebayo says:

    I don’t like Durant becoming Lebron and sacrificing shots and scoring, that is something Westbrook should be doing. Obviously though those guys in OKC tend to see things a bit different and 29 are probably thankful that Durant doesn’t lead the league in shot attempts per game.
    On an unrelated matter, the NBA handed out only 4 warnings so far, one to Kevin Martin. Is it just me or are they just calling them arbitrarily, selecting random flops instead of punishing everyone the same way? I have seen a lot more flops already.

  5. OKC Fan says:

    Durant is a baller, he will beat Lebron in a 1 on 1 game, but Lebron is a better team player

  6. Objectivity says:

    It’s a good start, but we’ll see, I’m not sure Durant can get close to a triple double consistently like some other players mentioned here.

  7. haha..!! says:

    lenny
    a player is only as great as the player he has around him that allows him to do what he does. put lebron on one of the under 500 teams and we’ll see just how great he is

    – ARE YOU KIDDING US??
    Cavaliers without Leking = Disaster / way bellow .500
    Cavs with Leking = Number 1 seed..

  8. TeeJaeVee says:

    Actually, of active players, Jason Kidd is the triple double king

  9. LeBron says:

    LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron

  10. Rondeau_9 says:

    I’m no Lebron fan but I know that he is still a greater player than KD. Also Rondo will always be the Triple Double King.

  11. cp10 says:

    The Mighty KD. I want that photo of him as a poster!! (the one with him smiling while holding the ball)

  12. lenny says:

    a player is only as great as the player he has around him that allows him to do what he does. put lebron on one of the under 500 teams and we’ll see just how great he is

    • bigwes95 says:

      what would happen is they would become contenders for the championship. when lebron left, the cavs were the first team to go from the best team in the league all the way to the worst after he was gone, he was obviously on a below .500 team and made them contenders. and michael jordan couldn’t make his team win that much on a .500(he could barely get to .500 by himself) so your comment doesn’t make any sense

  13. Willy says:

    Yes great player and the changes were necessary but I think it is way too much to ask for him over the entire season and through the playoffs where those numbers will or should be slightly down? Westbrook is the man who has to step up to take more control, but I really think the shoes are too big to fill, too bad they had to trade him. They will not make the finals this year. As great as Lebron is you still have Dwade sitting there, star of any other team in the NBA playig backing him up, tough to beat that combo.

  14. gerald29 says:

    this is what lebron taught him during finals…its not all about scoring ..lebron is a walking triple double king .

    • Cisco says:

      Actually rondo is the triple double king, and durant is still in the learning curve which is scary since harden got traded now he got room to grow

      • Yo Pop! says:

        Lebron – 32 triple doubles
        Rondo – 13 triple doubles

        And there are nights that LeBron should have more than those. And I’m not yet talking about Jason Kidd whom by the way holds the record, I think, for career triple double, now that is the King.

      • yeah buddy says:

        ur dang right rondo is triple double king and best point guard in the nba… all the other ones are not true point guards except nash but hes almost done and cp3 but hes also fading

      • Mike says:

        Actually, hes not. Whilst definitely up there on the list Rondo has 16 in 6 seasons whilst lebron has 29 in 9

      • chigchig says:

        actually lebron is hte triple double king.. his aves are closer to triple dipping every night.. even though rondo is no slouch still have to give it to the man that is a career 27-7-7 rather then rondo who is a career 10-8-4

      • celtic533 says:

        @Yo Pop rondo has 19 triple doubles in his six year career but what matters is what rondo does in the playoffs.Check his playoff career stats and their mind boggling.Rondo is the trip dub king,Oh and Lebron played a lot more games than him.Nothing against lebron tho.He’s beast in his own wayy.

      • CoachAiree says:

        Jason Kidd has 107 triple-doubles in his career`

  15. W/E says:

    its just his first triple double,he is a good scorer but still no were near Lebrons all around game

    • frantasy says:

      no one is comparing him to lebron. the article is about kevin durant as an individual improving his game.

  16. showbaba7 says:

    We all know that and nobody disputes that.

  17. G-money says:

    Lebron is overrated.

    How you gonna be called the greatest in the game now and you travel so much!!

    Lebron is no longer in an incline but on a decline from his peak. He will not do what Kobe has done on his decline.

    Kevin Durant has not reach his prime but his offensive sacrifice will show he will be better and more efficient than Lebron.

    Can’t wait to see when Lebron gets tagged with that Anti-Flopping charge!! Will make my week!!

  18. LENDOFSKI says:

    NOT FOR LONG 2-3 YRS FROM NOW I BELIEVE KD WILL BE THE BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD WE’RE JUST GONNA HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE.

  19. easy says:

    @G-money
    thats quite sad if lebron getting an anti flopping charge makes your week. He’s not overated, he is cleary the most dominant player in the league at the moment.

  20. bobson says:

    That has to be the most Lebron butthurt statement i ever seen.