Kevin Durant is among the best offensive basketball players to ever live. He’s nearly seven feet tall but can handle the basketball like a guard and is able to score from the moment he steps over half court, meaning in the history of the NBA there really haven’t been too many people like him.
As for the other side of the ball, that’s a different story. Durant has a bit of a reputation for not being too stout on defense, largely stemming from the fact that it was one of his weaknesses when he came into the league. Of course, he has gotten a lot better on that side of the ball since he was drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics, largely because he is cat quick with a high basketball IQ, a killer work ethic, and a wingspan that’s about 7’5.
But still, some people think Durant’s not an especially great defender. During a media availability on Tuesday, the former MVP spoke out against this perception.
“I’ve gotten better, and 2013 is when I feel I really turned the corner as a defender,” Durant said, according to ProBasketballTalk. “Around 2012, that’s when coaches stopped thinking they could go at me and get a basket or get me in foul trouble. But I don’t expect anybody on the outside who really doesn’t know the game to look at me as a defender because once you’re labeled something that’s what you’re going to be. But I feel the last four or five years I’ve definitely continued to get better and better, and smarter. I have the physical tools, but it’s also about mentally knowing what to do.”
Durant also spoke out against those who think he’s underrated defensively, saying “My coaches don’t feel like that.”
In all honesty, Durant’s defense is underrated, but only because there are still plenty of people out there who think he’s not especially great on that side of the ball. But ask most people who have to try and score on him and they’ll probably agree that he’s much better than he gets credit for.