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Kevin Durant Is Having a Crazy Good Year, Even By His Standards

While we are quickly approaching a turning point in the career of Kevin Durant, a place where we will question his lack of championship rings, something strange and beautiful has happened. With all the deserved hoopla surrounding all things Golden State, and the best version of Paul George we have ever seen trotting about, Kevin Durant is playing some of the best basketball of his career.

It has gone somewhat unnoticed, as we tend to fail to have the ability to recognize multiple awesome things happening at the same time. It is similar to that of being unable to appreciate the career arc of Ben Affleck, because we are so busy burying the new Batman vs Superman movie no one has yet to see. Nuance, compartmentalizing, and multitasking — even things we enjoy — are not our strengths.

I...am...Batman

I…am…Batman

Through 15 games this season, Durant is doing everything better and more efficiently. His field goal percentage (53 percent) and three point percentage (46 percent) is the the best it has ever been in his career. In fact, the world’s former trendiest pick to be the best player in the world is a career 48 percent shooter from the floor, and a 38 percent guy from distance. Obviously, even though the sample size isn’t huge, Durant is playing out of his mind right now.

Let us not forget that his 28 points per game are not because he’s simply shooting in volume. He is doing so incredibly efficiently, as his true shooting percentage is at a silly 66 percent, and his PER is resting at a more than respectable 30.42.

Hurl in his eight rebounds and four assists per (both, also above career averages) and Kevin Durant is statistically having the best season of his career. Oh, and you know, he is still only 27-years old.

To put that in some perspective: Kobe Bryant is approximately 900-years old, while a once promising Andrew Bynum is 28. Basically, Durant has more staying power than a traditional big which basketball-heads have long praised and is still 833 years away from being as old as Jelly Bean Jr.

Pictured above: Kobe playing defense.

Pictured above: Kobe playing defense.

How good is Kevin Durant now from the perspective of going down a basketball-reference wormhole? Well, I am glad you asked.

At the age of 27, Durant’s numbers are similar to those of LeBron James at the same age. The main difference being James’ assists numbers are slightly better, but Durant is slightly more efficient with the basketball. Let me repeat that, because it is worth repeating: Kevin Durant, a guy who shoots a lot of jumpers, is having a more efficient season at 27 than a guy — who at the same age — was/is a physical specimen unlike the world has ever seen before.

Oh, and the latter got a ton of his points directly at the rim.

If you want to get even crazier with the Bron-Bron comparison, their per-36 numbers are downright scary. Also, the guy who is sometimes considered “soft” is out-rebounding the King. Seriously, simply look at the numbers below. Thanks in advance, basketball-reference!

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Despite those striking — and somewhat misleading — similarities in numbers, Durant’s monster season is getting a wee-bit overlooked. We could speculate that the reason is because of his weird infatuation about getting defensive on topics which do not serve him, or the fact that other stories in the NBA are so mind-boggling in awesomeness, but is more likely because we have unfortunately grown numb to his greatness. We have reached near-critical mass. The point in his career where we will only judge Durant’s success by way of postseason success.

Personally, it is my least-favorite timeline during an NBA star’s career. That point when we stop appreciating their abilities and instead nitpick the players to the point of diminishing their marvelous feats of excellence. Thankfully, we haven’t reached full-blown “Durant is not {insert a Skip Bayless thing here}” point yet. Cooler heads are kind of prevailing, but we’re a mere iffy postseason away from Kevin Durant becoming fodder for those who don’t actually watch basketball games.

Regardless, as Steph Curry is hitting more threes than anyone in the world, Paul George is defying odds, Kawhi Leonard continues to emerge as a star, young guys like Kristaps Porzingis and Karl Anthony-Towns showoff nightly, Kevin Durant plays the best basketball of his life, and insert about two handfuls worth of other guys, this is about as deep a talent pool of legit and soon-to-be stars the NBA has seen in a long time.

Let’s appreciate it. Let’s celebrate it. Let’s try to do the balancing act of acknowledging that more than one truly good thing can be happening at a time.

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Is it “too soon” for a bear and Leo in the woods reference, iffy joke here? Never mind…

Pay more attention to Kevin Durant. Good day, kind people.

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