Kevin Durant turns 33 today. The 11-time All-Star, two-time NBA champ, two-time Finals MVP and four-time scoring champ has solidified his status as one of the all-time great players in the league. Over his 13-year NBA career, Durant averages 27.02 ppg, the fifth-best scoring average by any player in NBA history. That scoring average also puts him ahead of all active players, including LeBron James (27.00) and James Harden (25.14).
More importantly, Kevin Durant elevates his game in the playoffs. His 29.50 ppg in the NBA’s postseason ranks only behind Michael Jordan (33.45) and Allen Iverson (29.73). But while both these players were the dominant scorers on their teams for most of their careers, Durant has had to sacrifice his numbers during his years with the Golden State Warriors and now with the Brooklyn Nets. Durant has had to share the ball with great scorers like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harden and Kyrie Irving on both these teams.
No doubt, had Durant been on a lesser team, his scoring average may have been a lot closer to Jordan. We saw evidence of this in the 2021 postseason, where he singlehandedly carried the Brooklyn Nets to a seven-game contest against Milwaukee even as teammates Harden and Irving remained unavailable for the full duration of the series. Durant averaged a phenomenal 35.4 ppg in that matchup.
Durant’s ability to score against any opponent or against the best of defenses has never been in doubt. One could even argue that he is a better scorer than the great Michael Jordan. Why do we say that? The following three reasons will help better substantiate this statement.
#1 Kevin Durant’s length, wingspan and high release point gives him a massive advantage over Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan was listed at 6'6" and had a wingspan of about 6'10", 6'11". Kevin Durant, at 6'10", is a full four inches taller than MJ. Durant has a reported wingspan of 7'5". That is six inches more than Jordan’s wingspan, which means that Durant hardly has any defenders capable of defending him. Durant simply shoots over guys who are smaller than him and if opponents send bigger players (power forwards) to guard him, he just blows by them on account of his superior athleticism.
Another important factor is that Kevin Durant has an extremely high release point. Durant releases his jump shot from a height of approximately 11 feet in the air. Most NBA players cannot jump that high when they suddenly have to contest a jump shot without getting adequate space or momentum.