There are good mid-range shooters, there are elite mid-range shooters, and then there’s Kevin Durant.
While Durant has long been a mid-range assassin, he has increased his efficiency from that distance to a terrifying level to start the 2021-22 season. According to NBA.comHe’s made, wait, 59.7 percent of his long range shooting attempts to start this season.
You probably don’t need me to tell you how awesome it is, but for perspective: Durant is one of 81 players who have attempted at least 15 shots from the middle range during the first three weeks of the season. Want to guess how many of those players have converted their mid-range jumpers to a higher rate than Durant? Just four: Chris Paul (64.3 percent), Seth Curry (65.7 percent), Nikola Jokic (68.8 percent) and LaMarcus Aldridge (78.6 percent).
The kicker is not one of them who has made as many from that distance as Durant. In fact, no one in the entire league has.
Durant’s 37 field goals from mid-range are the most in the league by a fairly large margin. DeMar DeRozan (29) is closest to him, followed by Paul George (28), Trae Young (26) and Dejounte Murray (26).
So Durant has not only been the league’s most prolific mid-range scorer so far this season, but he’s also been one of the most efficient.
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Eleven-time All-Star, four-time scoring champion, two-time champion, two-time Finals MVP, and once MVP, Durant, of course, has been lighting up mid-range opponents for more than a decade right now. It has long been his weapon of choice, even before his time in the NBA.
At 6 feet 10 inches with a wingspan of 7 feet 5 inches, Durant has a natural size and length advantage over most defenders. Sometimes it is as simple as shooting at them.
Not even crosses like Myles Turner had much of a chance of interrupting their shot.
If Durant feels like he needs a little more space, his fading usually works, giving him an even higher release point.
She even has Dirk Nowitzki’s famous one-legged fadeaway in her bag.
With his comfort improving, playing fall cover against Durant is often a losing game.
To tie a bow, Durant has the handle to do things like this on a regular basis:
The combination gives Durant the tools to set fire to equipment in isolation, off screens, off pick-and-rolls, and in post. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that it is located in the 69th percentile or better in scoring efficiency on those plays right now.
The midrange isn’t even an efficient shot for most, but it’s basically a layup for Durant, and it seems like he can get there whenever he wants. While it helps that many defenses are geared toward giving up the midrange these days, most players with the size to contest their jump don’t have the speed to keep up with it and most players who have the speed to keep up with it. rhythm. outside the dribble he is not the size to contest his shot.
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It usually doesn’t matter if someone is in Durant’s face, either. According to NBA.com, more than two-thirds (68.2 percent) of his shooting attempts this season have been against tight coverage, meaning a defender is within two to four feet of him. Your success rate in those looks? A ridiculous 57.3 percent.
Not all of them are middles, there’s a decent amount of layup and 3-pointers mixed in because, oh yeah, he’s an effortless scorer at all three levels, but a lot of them are.
It’s almost as if all else fails, Durant knows he can just get up. Your mid-range jump shot is the best safety blanket.
Durant probably won’t shoot is well, from mid-range all season, but again, not that this is new territory for him. Last season, he did the 19th highest number of field goals from mid-range despite playing in just 35 games, he did so at 50.6 percent. Then he freaked out in the playoffs, connecting 55.3 percent of his middies despite the annoying PJ Tucker pinning him for seven straight games in the second round.
If anything, it appears that Durant is only getting better and more helpless with age. That he shoots the lights from the midrange is a testament to that.