Spicy Kevin Durant returns, argues with random NBA fans on Twitter

Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Kevin Durant is back to argue with your neighbor Jeff on Twitter. Let’s break down his latest comments. 

Kevin Durant: Basketball superstar, millionaire entrepreneur, media kingpin, Twitter user.

Every NBA player is human. Every NBA player is different. Off the court, some players use social media to promote brands. Others are just tweeting about life like the rest of us. Some prefer to avoid it altogether: Nikola Jokic probably doesn’t know what a cellphone is.

Others are Kevin Durant, who is determined to argue with every random basketball fan who pops across his feed on a random weekday afternoon. As the Suns wait for training camp, the 34-year-old with 13 All-Star appearances and two rings to his name is tweetin’ up a storm.

His latest crusade concerns the widely disputed value of a bucket.

Kevin Durant is argues with random Twitter users about the value of scoring

The game of basketball is highly nuanced. There are layers upon layers of strategy that bleed into every team’s game plan. Each individual matchup factors into the coach’s calculus. Every dribble, every off-ball movement, every pass, every shot — it all adds up to the product we watch on TV every night.

If you ask Kevin Durant, defense is important, but it’s not half as important as offense. More specifically, Kevin Durant would like to emphasize the unimpeachable value of scoring.

Sure. NBA Twitter does love a two-way player. But Kevin, what about offense and its many moving parts excites you most?

This is objectively true. You do playmake to set up a score. The offense doesn’t work if someone doesn’t ultimately put the ball through the net.

Let’s dig to the origin of these thoughts from KD:

To win, right? The object of the game is to win.

This is another truth bomb from KD. You need to SCORE more than your opponent to win the game, thus it stands to reason that scoring is the most valuable single trait a player can possess.

He is absolutely correct. The most valuable players in the NBA are most valuable because, at their very essence, they can score better than everyone else. But where Durant’s argument comes up short — probably because nobody, not even Durant, has time to flesh out their point on Twitter — is misrepresenting the exact nature of how a team scores more than its opponent.

One way to score more than your opponent is to keep the opponent from scoring. An elite defender can impact winning just as much as an elite offensive player by stopping the other team. Who’s more valuable: a player who scores 15 points or a player who keeps 15 points off the board on the other end?

As for qualifying the specific nature of “scoring” on offense, yes — being able to shoot and score in the ultimate necessity. But there are multiple ways to get there. Certain spots on the floor are more efficient than others. Being spoon-fed a layup at the rim is going to yield better results than a contested fallaway 20-footer.  Playmakers may not score, but a playmaker makes the bucket-getting part easier on teammates. That can’t be neglected as an essential aspect of any good offense.

The best offenses are constantly moving, passing, spacing. The worst offenses simply dribble and shoot. It takes effort, ingenuity, and playmaking to decrease the difficulty level of a shot attempt and, by extension, increase the efficiency of that shot attempt. It takes all five players working in unison to pinpoint and exploit fissures in the defense.

Durant is ultimately correct in his very broad point: offense is more valuable than defense, especially in today’s league with so many elite shooters roaming the perimeter. And yes, the very best players are generally the very best scorers. But there’s only one ball to go around and there are 10 players on the court at a given time. Not every player can score. Four out of five offensive players on a given possession have to contribute in a way that does not involve directing delivering the ball to the hoop.

So, that’s why the vague and anonymous ‘NBA Twitter’ likes a two-way player. A non-bucket-getter. Because those guys are just as important to creating and executing the shot as the player shooting it. Every player who makes it to the NBA has more than a rudimentary understanding of how to “score.” Those who can influence the game elsewhere tend to influence winning the most, especially those outside the superstar tier. And, what separates the players in the superstar tier? Their ability to do more than simply generate shots.

That’s why Carmelo Anthony isn’t on the same pedestal as other all-time greats like, say, Kevin Durant. KD is a better passer, defender, and that’s right, player. It’s not hard to appreciate the value of skill diversity.

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