The NBA Summer League did not end in Las Vegas or Orlando. This past week the Rockie Mountain Revue took place with the Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Philadelphia 76ers, San Antonio Spurs, Seattle SuperSonics, and Utah Jazz each fielding teams. Most of the players who participated will not be playing much (if at all) in the NBA. Consequently, one would expect a “star” player in the NBA to dominate.
Kevin Durant was selected with the second choice in the 2007 NBA Draft, and many thought he should have been chosen over Greg Oden. After four games in Las Vegas, where Durant averaged 24 points per game, people were declaring that Durant’s summer performance did not disappoint.
As I noted last Tuesday, though, any fan of Durant should be quite disappointed. Durant managed to capture only 8 rebounds in 137 minutes of playing time in Vegas. Over the past 14 seasons, 99% of all NBA players rebounded at a better rate than this. He also only scored 0.73 points per field goal attempt [(PTS-FTM)/FGA), a mark that was bested by 96% of all NBA players since 1993-94. In sum, Durant couldn’t rebound and he couldn’t shoot. Given that these two activities will define much of his NBA productivity, observers of Durant should be quite disappointed.
This past week Durant played in Salt Lake City. In his only game the Sonics fell to the Jazz, 102-88.
In the recap of the game it was noted that Durant led all scorers with 29 points. What was left out of the discussion was the fact Durant played 36 minutes and only grabbed one rebound. He also took 21 shots and hit on just seven. In sum, Durant found a way to produce even less than he did in Vegas. Again he failed to rebound. And again he failed to consistently hit his shots. What is surprising is that again, the media seems to not pay any attention to another below average game from a player who is supposed to be a future star.
Fortunately for the Sonics team, Durant had to leave after this one game for his try-out with Team USA. With Durant out of the line-up the Sonics managed to win their next two games. So let’s recap. With Durant – a future NBA star — in the starting line-up the Sonics failed to win a game. Five games Durant played. Five games the Sonics lost. With Durant out of the line-up, though, the Sonics were 2-1.
Again, this is just summer basketball. The sample is quite small. Still, Durant is supposed to be extremely competitive. Yet against players who are not as good as the players he will face in the NBA, Durant was very, very bad. And his team kept losing with him in the line-up.
All in all, this was not a good omen for Seattle fans. I still think, based on his college numbers, that Durant will be an above average NBA player. But what he did this summer was very disappointing. And I find it odd that more people in the media failed to pick up on this story.
One also has to wonder what this summer has taught Durant. He just signed a $60 million shoe contract. He captured headlines in games his team lost because he managed to take enough shots to post impressive scoring totals. Still I wonder… does Durant know he didn’t play well? Does he know he will have to play much better for the Sonics to win against actual NBA players? These are the questions people in the media should be asking.
Okay, enough on Durant.
In other news…You will note that I have added two new pages to The Wages of Wins Journal. Above you can find a page that will take you to a review of the 2006-07 NBA season. This page is not complete. More teams will be analyzed as the summer progresses. Additionally there is a page with links to the analysis of the NBA Draft. Again, more years will be analyzed in the upcoming weeks and months.