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Kevin Durant has been the NBA's most consistently dominant scorer over the past four seasons. But with Russell Westbrook out, the Thunder evidently are preparing to have Durant share the ball more.
Durant, a three-time league scoring champion who averaged 28.1 points per game last season, had 12 assists Tuesday in a preseason game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks said he wants Durant to be more of a distributor this season.
|Kevin Durant had 12 assists in a recent preseason game against the 76ers, one more assist than his regular-season career high.|
"It's by design," Brooks told The Oklahoman. "We want all of our playmakers to continue to look for guys that need help scoring. We have guys that can do a lot of things offensively, but they need help.
"And [Durant] has the ability to get shots for Thabo [Sefolosha], get shots for Serge [Ibaka] and get shots for all of our bigs. Once we start knocking some of those shots in, I think it's going to add to what we do offensively."
Durant, 25, averaged a career-high 4.6 assists last season despite finishing second in the NBA in scoring behind Carmelo Anthony, who averaged 28.7 points per game.
The 6-foot-9 Durant is open to changing his style, especially without Westbrook, an All-Star point guard who will miss at least the first month of the regular season while recovering from knee surgery.
"Obviously we got to change some things up with how we play," Durant told The Oklahoman. "And I think Coach is putting in some great offense for us. Everybody's touching the ball, we're moving it a little bit more, we're finding the open shot, and we're just trusting our offense."
Durant had 12 of the Thunder's 30 assists in the preseason win over the Sixers. His regular-season high is 11, set in February against the Houston Rockets.
"[Durant] understands the game at a higher level each season because he puts a lot of time into it," Brooks said. "He's as coachable as any player I've been around in this league, as a player and as a coach."