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News » Durant's numbers make strong closing argument

Durant's numbers make strong closing argument

Durant's numbers make strong closing argument
Chances are, Kevin Durant isn't going to be an All-Star this season.

The Thunder forward sure is making the Western Conference coaches who vote on the reserves think about putting him on their ballots, though.

Ballots are due today.

Durant is making a strong closing argument. Durant, who ranks sixth in the league in scoring, has been nothing short of spectacular in the past dozen games. He has averaged 27.7 points during that stretch, including four games of 30-plus points.

"He definitely has All-Star numbers," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "You can't really dispute that.

"But I love what Kevin said ... that All-Stars must lead their teams to a lot of wins, and he hasn't. We have not done that yet."

Thing is, the Thunder is playing some good ball lately. Entering Monday night's game against New Jersey, Oklahoma City has won six of it last dozen games, including three of the past five.

That doesn't constitute a juggernaut in the NBA. Yet for a team that lost 15 of its first 16 games, this is quite a turnaround, quite a step forward.

Durant has been key.

That will only enhance his case to be an All-Star.

So should this - his defense is improving.

Rebounding was the area that Brooks implored Durant to improve when he took over as coach. At that point, a dozen games into the season, Durant had fewer rebounds than Earl Watson.

Durant is 6-foot-9.

Watson is 6-1.

Durant isn't getting outrebounded by the reserve point guard anymore. Last week, he had 12 rebounds against the Warriors, then 15 against the Clippers.

"We don't expect him to have those numbers every night," Brooks said, "but we expect him to get in nearly double-digit rebounding because he can."

A bruiser, he isn't, but Durant has the wing span of a condor. Because of that, he should be a good rebounder and frankly should be a better defender.

But he's improving.

"He's not there yet," Brooks said, "but he's working his way to challenge all shots that are taken on him."

Those are the types of things that those Western Conference coaches will recognize. No doubt they will take note of the gaudy offensive numbers, but they will appreciate those other improvements, too.

Will it be enough to get Durant an invite to All-Star weekend?

Maybe not, but he is making a late push that will make coaches think long and hard about putting Durant on their ballots.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: January 29, 2009


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