Mr. 90-50-40, Kevin Durant, the epitome of efficiency himself is now at a bit of a crossroads. He???s a great player. He???s poised. He???s focused. He???s alone. It???s not a good feeling to have your wing-man gone at the most important part of the season, but this is the NBA, ???Where Injuries Happen.??? Durant gets so much praise for his efficiency. His shooting percentages as a collective are some of the best in history but he is going to find it harder night in and night out to reach those numbers. What most don???t realize is that Russell Westbrook played an important part of Durant???s shooting success. This is true not because Russell Westbrook is a great playmaker, because he isn???t. This is true because Russell Westbrook is just as much a threat to score as Kevin Durant is. Of course Westbrook isn???t the scorer Durant is, but he will put shots up which to a defense can be just as dangerous. He will actually put up more shots. Because of this fact, defenses can???t just hone in on Durant. They have to respect both Durant and Westbrook which makes the game a whole lot easier for Durant which also makes Durant???s numbers look a lot better than they normally would. With Durant???s personality and the way he goes about the game, he doesn???t have an issue with Westbrook jacking up more shots a game than he does because he is smart enough to know that this is only going to help his game be easier. Now Westbrook is gone for the playoffs out with a meniscus tear that required surgery to repair. Now Durant will find out what its like to be Carmelo Anthony. We know Lebron is MVP, but the next guy has been the subject of all the discussion. Durant gets crowned as #2 in most circles because of the efficiency he displays on offense versus Carmelo who???s percentages are lower than Durant???s but those same individuals are failing to look at the dynamics of both teams. Yes, Carmelo does have the Sixth Man of the Year JR Smith on his team, but Smith is no Westbrook and JR would never put up 25 shots in a game that Carmelo is playing in. Melo is the focal point of the Knicks offense. Everything runs through him. Every defense keys in on Carmelo. JR is a threat and his role is increasing but when you look at #2???s compared to the team???s Alpha Dog, JR Smith is not on the same page as a Russel Westbrook, Dwayne Wade, or even Joe Johnson. Now Durant is going to be to the Thunder what Carmelo is to the Knicks. The Man. Yes, he was the man before, but now its without question. Defenses are going to change and be able to operate on just what he does the same way they do with Carmelo. This is why you will see a drop in Durant???s percentages and you will see him take 30 plus shots a game just as Melo does. Last night against Houston without Westbrook, Durant was 13-30 with a career playoff high of 41pts. He will have to carry his team night in and night out offensively for the Thunder to have any chance at reaching the Finals the same way that #7 does in New York. His defense may suffer, the shots he takes will be tougher, and fatigue may become an issue. In his Sports Illustrated article last week, Durant said he was tired of being number two. Well now you are number one Kevin. Number one and only, at least in your own locker room.


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