Kevin Durant Named 2013 Western Conference All-Star Team Starter
For the third consecutive season, Thunder forward Kevin Durant has been named a starter for the Western Conference All-Star team. When Durant travels to Houston for All-Star weekend in mid-February, it will be the fourth time the three-time NBA scoring champion and three-time All-NBA First Team selection will represent the Western Conference as an All-Star.
Durant is the NBA’s third leading scorer so far this season at 28.7 points per game and is also averaging career-bests in assists (4.2), steals (1.6) and blocks (1.3) per game. The former NBA Rookie of the Year has steadily improved as a player during his six seasons in the NBA and five in Oklahoma City. This year he is shooting a career-best 52.5 percent from the field and 90.1 percent from the free throw line, but it his leadership that has been instrumental in helping the Thunder get off to an NBA-best 31-8 start.
“Each year I’ve grown in that area, just being more of a vocal leader and leading by example,” Durant said earlier this year. “I just have to bring it every single day as far as trying to help my team… I think if I’m always positive and energetic and wanting to win so bad, they’ll follow.”
More recently, Durant is averaging 34 points and 4.3 assists per game over the last four contests, all of which were Thunder wins. Proving that he continues to become a more complete and successful all-around player, Durant registered his first career triple double this season with a 25-point, 13-rebound, 10-assist performance in a home win against the Golden State Warriors on November 18th.
Offensively, Durant is having one of his best and most efficient seasons of his career, hoping to become one of the handful of players ever to average above 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from the three-point line and 90 percent of the free throw line.
“I think I’m progressing and that’s the best thing about it,” Durant said. “It’s not just me catching and scoring, it’s me kicking out for an open jump shot or me hitting a cutter. I just have to do a better job of seeing the floor and taking my time with it, and hopefully I’ll get better at it.”
Durant’s ability to score more points on fewer shot attempts has helped the Thunder’s offense expand to new heights. Teammates appreciate the way Durant has helped others find their own scoring opportunities within the flow of the offense, and become a more well-rounded player on the defensive end. The Thunder hangs it hat on the defensive end, and Durant’s emerging presence on that end of the floor has a far-reaching influence in the locker room.
“He’s a special player,” teammate Kevin Martin said earlier this season. “He’s the heart of our team and we just like to follow his lead… (When) you see your superstar bring intensity like that, everybody else better bring it also.”