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Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 at 11:10 am  |  68 responses

Kevin Durant Keeps Close Track of LeBron James’ Stats


They may be friends off the court, and offseason workout partners. But don’t let that fool you—Kevin Durant takes his rivalry with LeBron James very seriously, and desperately wants be the top dog in the L. KD admits that he obsessively keeps track of LBJ’s stat lines (as well as his own). Per SI: “‘That’s my guy,’ Durant says. ‘I looked up to him [James], and now I battle him.’ [...] ‘I don’t watch a lot of other basketball away from the gym,’ Durant says. ‘But I do look at LeBron’s box score. I want to see how many points, rebounds and assists he had, and how he shot from the field. If he had 30 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, I can tell you exactly how he did it, what type of shots he made and who he passed to.’ [...] ‘People see two young black basketball players at the top of their game and think we should clash,’ Durant says. ‘They want the conflict. They want the hate. They forget Bird cried for Magic. A friend was getting on me about this recently, and I said, ‘Calm down. I’m not taking it easy on him. Don’t you know I’m trying to destroy the guy every time I go on the court?’ [...] Durant has hired his own analytics expert. He tailors workouts to remedy numerical imbalances. He harps on efficiency more than a Prius dealer. To Durant, basketball is an orchard, and every shot an apple. ‘Let’s say you’ve got 40 apples on your tree,’ Durant explains. ‘I could eat about 30 of them, but I’ve begun limiting myself to 15 or 16. Let’s take the wide-open three and the post-up at the nail. Those are good apples. Let’s throw out the pull-up three in transition and the step-back fadeaway. Those are rotten apples. The three at the top of the circle — that’s an in-between apple. We only want the very best on the tree.’”

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  • James

    Damn dude is more obssessed with apples than this guy

  • shockexchange

    Now Durant knows how Barkley, Ewing, Malone, Stockton, Clyde, Hakeem, et. al felt during the Jordan era.

  • Dagger

    I’m incredibly impressed with the way in which Durant has improved his game over the years. His emphasis on efficiency over quantity is even more impressive. Watching the league in the Iverson/Vince/Pierce/McGrady/Francis/Kobe heyday, I never thought I’d see multiple wing players shoot over 50% from the floor for a season. Enjoy it while it lasts!

  • http://twitter.com/_DFrance DFrance

    “Durant has hired his own analytics expert. He tailors workouts to remedy numerical imbalances”

    Is this really what it takes to be great? A friend of mine and I were talking about how much money parents spend a year on their kids on sports. Beyond registration fees and gear, but on different forms of training and we just thought it was crazy. I know times have changed, but this just sounds like overkill.

  • http://basketball-performance.com/ Basketball Tips

    well, they’re professionals, so knowing their flaws from someone to improve their game is a must.

  • playa

    See mike d’antoni?? That is called a FAN.LeBron James got his own ,official ,fellow star player stalker!!! But seriously if Kevin will try to play LeBron he will never succeed in this “game”.You are who you are- best scorer on the planet&future legend on your own,Do your job and dont change your style of play because of someone/something, Kobe never became Magic Johnson and it was/is not a problem for any logical, rational nba fan.

  • bike

    It comes across as sounding like he wants to stuff a stat sheet over anything else. I do believe he wants to be the best – nothing wrong with that – but becoming obsessed with another player’s stats sounds weird.

  • D_Nuggets

    A famous Shaq quote: “The day that I stopped worrying about stats is the day I started winning championships.” I think that’s true. I’m not saying stats are useless. I’m saying he shouldn’t worry about them. Just play YOUR game KD!

  • Dagger

    How can you compare the amount of money/attention a parent spends on his/her child’s sport versus how much one of the best athletes in the world spends on his training? On the one hand you have a kid’s hobby, and on the other a multi-million dollar business. There’s no such thing as overkill when there’s so much money and so many livelihoods involved.

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    Actually, the main reason why some people still say Magic is better than Kobe and why most people say Jordan is better, is because of the completeness of their games. So, developing a complete game is a must for any player if they want to be in the greatest of all time discussion.

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    Actually, great players ahve always worked on their weaknesses. Jordan game into the League with a shaky handle and jumper, and immediately remedied it. Kobe has long used stat guys to ferret tendencies in his game so he doesn’t become predictable. It used to be more intuitive and now it’s more data driven. I like the plan. Eliminate predictability and you become impossible to defend.
    Look at J.R. Smith for example. If he could go left, he would be a perennial All-Star.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    That was a wierd era. The superstars of today seem so much more dedicated about the game of basketball than those guys (sans Kobe).

  • keyon dooling

    whether he’s shooting around 47 or 48 percent as opposed to about 50 or 51 with less shots, he’s stil more efficient than westbrook. this efficiency craze is interesting, but may be hurting his aggressiveness as he’s the best scorer in the game.

    The Shaq quote below definitely applies IMO

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    This is what everyone wanted Kobe vs. Lebron to be like, except Kobe is much older than LBJ so their paths never really crossed as much as KD’s and Lebron’s will over the next few years.

    I look forward to their Finals rematch. KD is turning into a great narrative right before our eyes (always coming in second to Lebron), so when he finally wins the championship at some point in the next few years, its going to be amazing to see.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    I think the reason a lot of people given Magic the nod is due to leadership intangibles. Kobe was never the leader that Magic was, especially in his prime. He’s gotten better over time, but it doesn’t come naturally to him like it did for Magic. Kobe has a complete game for about half of his career, though the “completeness” of it has fallen off (by choice) since about 2007.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    He’s a professional athlete. This is what he does every single day of his life…not sure how that’s comparable.

  • http://twitter.com/anorman14 Ant

    “Efficiency” seems to be the new hot topic amongst the NBA elite

  • http://www.facebook.com/devin.williams1 Devin Williams

    He’s right in principle but some of those apples are going to Russell and his rotten apples so I still think he should be taking those shots, even if he is more efficient

  • Guest

    Kobe was a much better defender

  • http://www.facebook.com/devin.williams1 Devin Williams

    ^^Very true. I think Barkley or one of those guys pointed out how KD is trying to mirror his game on Lebron’s when he should be more focused on Melo’s since he’s such a devastating shooter but he needs to post up more

  • LakeShow

    Agreed.
    He needs to be less obsessed with stats. It’s a little over the top.
    Be efficient, but play hard more than anything.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    i agree with the magic thing

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    clyde snuck one in when jordan retired lol

  • havoc33

    I don’t totally know what to think about this new efficiency craze. It is great to focus on good shot selection of course, but on the other hand when I hear Durant, Wade and Lebron say they won’t take buzzer beaters and such at the end of quarters, then I just shake my head. That is called stat padding, and is taking it too far. It is also the reason why efficiency numbers have been somewhat inflated the past few years.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    not at all

  • havoc33

    Exactly.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    its just a phase

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    LeBron is the only player in the league who’s better than him and he knows it. There’s no one else whose games he should be keeping track of.

  • ChosenOne

    Completely agree. Kevin needs to understand that there is more to the game of Basketball than just stats…

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ Megatron

    Russell eats all the apples

  • zoe

    Dwayne Wade got more ships then lebron, and they both had Shaq

  • shockexchange

    Sanchez you would be a great agent for Durant. “Kevin, armed with the ‘LeBron Rules,’ his game is impregnable. Just wait ’til LeBron retires … you could prolly win a chip then.”

  • zoe

    1.kobe
    2.Dwayne
    3.lebron

  • zoe

    Dwayne 31, he letting youngin get his, its always county

  • playa

    Well, but picking magic or kobe is just like umm you know its just opinion, and many people just have sentiment for showtime,magic&his smile, magic seemed more likeable.As far as complete game Kobe was as complete as they come,absolutely no weaknesses aside from occasional temper,and Mike was just a better player than kobe,that’s simple for me.

  • playa

    Wholeheartadly agree with you.Shooting sub 40% is unacceptable,but efficency means NOTHING when you lose, you can have poor/average game but make shots/plays right when your team needs it most and reversely you can shot 50 or 60% in a game but make costly mistakes,miss few crucial ones and its sayonara for you.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    haha i’ll be his advisor

  • ATL dynamite

    Russell will not only take the apples left off – he would take away the whole orchard if he could.

  • EJ

    Analyzing stats can be very helpful, watching tape only gives you an idea of what kind of moves a player makes, but it doesn’t tell you the tendencies of a player well.

  • Lorne

    Um, do you realize that those uber-efficient players happen to win more than most in this league? These guys are conference leaders who have made the finals and will again this year. It’s not a question that abandoning inefficient hero ball is helping their teams win, and win easier. They are directly related. I do agree that stat watching the degree that Durant does is lame tho.

  • uqk

    how about mvp finals in first year?

  • kplayaja

    Too bad Westbrook is eating the rest of those Apples.

  • Ron

    He wants to learn which is good but he’s kind of a corny mamas boy ..

  • Dildoo

    CP3?

  • Lloyd

    Shaq was saying the day he stopped caring about his individual performance was the day he started winning with a team. Caring about his OWN stats. KD is following Lebron’s stats so he can set a bar for himself. It’s knowing your competition. Completely different scenarios.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    the intangibles are what made Magic’s game complete.
    .
    intangibles are a part of the game.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    it works. it really really works.

  • robb

    why the thumbs down? this guy’s right.

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    No.

  • MUBWAR

    so did hakeem (twice)

  • danpowers

    could somebody pass on that apple thing to jr smith? thank you

  • TBRK

    That apple analogy just made me respect this man on an entirely different level

  • Max

    KD cares about his OWN stats..

  • dmx

    Correct me if im wrong, but didn’t magic and bird use to look at each others stats after their games and try and perform better than the other? I dont see anything wrong with this, its what they do to push themselves and improve. I dont know many basketball players in high school that dont want to know their stats after games and try to put up better numbers than other players

  • Lloyd

    In regards to this article, he follows Lebron’s stat line to see what Lebron does on the court, and then tries to compete against that. He doesn’t say anything about keeping track of numbers, he said that he can see Lebron’s stats and say what he physically did to get them. That doesn’t mean “Lebron gets 10 assists so I try to get 10 assists, and if he scores 30, I do the same.” Lebron’s the best all-around player and KD is trying to be one too so he’s watching the best. That’s all this artcile says.

  • Max

    Yeah, but KD has stated he also cares about his own stats in a past article.
    http://www.slamonline.com/online/nba/2013/02/kevin-durant-avoids-heaves-at-the-buzzer-to-keep-his-shooting-percentage-high/
    Thank you, come again.

  • Lloyd

    I didn’t bother reading it because I assume that’s the article talking about him not wanting to throw up the full court heave with the clock winding down. I don’t care about that because a lot of basketball players feel the same way. Tim Hardaway was big for it when he used to wait for a split second after the buzzer to throw up a bomb because if he missed it, oh well, if he scored it, his teammates love him even though it wouldn’t count. Either way it wouldn’t affect his shooting percentage. KD was just the first player to admit it, and he didn’t even say he wouldn’t do it if I remeber correctly, just if he’s having a bad night he won’t. The few instances where he won’t hardly affects his overall stats. Shane Battier even came out and said that they shouldn’t count the full court heave towards shooting percentage, because it discourages a lot of guys from taking it.

    But if you’re basing your view of KD caring about stats based on that article, God bless you. I point to the fact that He could’ve easily been scoring champ this season and he didn’t even bother to try for it. If he cared about stats, wouldn’t he have? Also, if he cared about his own stat line instead of winning, he would’ve literally killed Russell Westbrook more than 2 seasons ago

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    mos def. just noticed @stockexchange threw in hakeem

  • Lil_Stratboy

    I think KD should also watch how LeBron lifts

  • makoface

    EVERY player – whether they say it or not- cares about their stats. Its absolutely everything to them- sometimes more important than wins to some guys, it dictates everything, respect, pay and heirarchy on a team. as they get older- and get those numbers- then rings matter, but for young guys- trying to earn- numbers are everything. Durants still on that tip- where he wants to get to the top. once he gets knocked out of the finals a few times- he ll not care as much aobout individual stats. but shit- we care about htem- we compare them and obsess them- why should nt they?

  • holdup

    Durant would have needed 70 points the last game to be the scoring champ. Don’t think any player could have “easily” done that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/evan.boland Evan Boland

    Disagree. Kobe has the most rings around, and he aint no uber-efficient player.

  • http://www.facebook.com/evan.boland Evan Boland

    Exactly.

  • Lloyd

    You don’t think Durant knew he was in contention to be the scoring champ once again 10 games before the season ended? He could have easily gone trigger happy then and made up any point differential between him and Melo, that’s if he cared about his totals more than winning.

  • Max

    He cared about his shooting percentages (which were legendary) more than the scoring champ, thats obvious, I even think he stated that in the past aswell.
    But I don’t blame him for doing so, I even respect him for saying he does.

  • Max

    This I agree with.

  • Lorne

    You should keep reading my post until you understand it. Even if Kobe wasn’t de-facto retired, your justification holds no weight. Name a superstar in the past five years–who doesn’t ALWAYS get blessed with being surrounded by talent– who’s team hasn’t become more formidable with their superstar’s increased efficiency. You can’t. Name a superstar who’s team has been losing with their increased efficiency. You can’t. If you disagree, fine. But at least provide a real argument lol.

    BTW, yet another reason why your Kobe argument is silly, has Kobe ever been able to beat Durant’s team in a series? Do you really think a healthy Kobe could’ve willed the Lakers to a series win over the Thunder? As I said, increased efficiency and these guys’ consistent winning are directly related. A Shaq-less Kobe isn’t beating the Heat a Finals match-up or the Thunder in the playoffs. That’s really the bottom line.

  • Lloyd

    I don’t think caring about shooting percentage in regards to full court heaves is a sign that he cares about his stats regardless. Dude still shoots a high volume of shots, connecting on more than 50% this year. It’s not like he’s only going to take open layups and refuse to take anything else, hurting his team to get a sky-high percentage.

    Bottom line, I think KD cares about his stats because it shows him where he can improve in his all around game, not to pad his totals. He’s hit career best in almost every statistical category this season. Whatever he’s doing, it’s working and it ain’t a burden on the Thunder.

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