Scouts Takes: Durant carries that weight

January, 18, 2014
Jan 18
6:13
PM ET
Western Conference scout on the load Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant is shouldering with Russell Westbrook out injured:

“I’ve been to a couple games lately where I thought Durant was getting really frustrated with how much he has to do when they play the good teams for OKC to have a chance, whether it was admonishing his teammates or looking over at the bench when something went wrong. But I think it’s pretty natural if you’re in that situation.

“He knows he’s going to have to score 35 for them to have a chance to win games without Westbrook. He can’t be a guy who passes in the first half and then scores in the second half. He’s got to give it to them all the time to keep them in the game. And you can see there’s a lot of pressure there.

“Look what just happened Friday night. He scored 54 points ... and OKC won by six at home.

Reggie Jackson is a good player, but he’s definitely a score-first guy. I think he’s trying to do all the right things now that he’s trying to run the team, but there’s a thought process you can see he’s going through on the court that I think is slowing him down a bit. I don’t want to say it’s a LeBron/Mario Chalmers thing, but that’s kind of the way I felt the last time I saw the Thunder, because Durant jumped his ass more than once.

“But my biggest issue is with Serge Ibaka. I know people talk about how much he’s improved as a shooter, but all he wants to do is shoot jump shots all the time. And he’s not Ryan Anderson. I would be frustrated if it was my team that had him, just like with Josh Smith in Detroit when he takes too many jump shots. [Ibaka] proved me wrong the other night on national TV [when the Thunder came back to beat the Rockets], but I just wish he’d stay closer to the basket offensively.”

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics

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