Once a season the comparison between LeBron James and Kevin Durant takes a different angle; not the titles, MVPs and legacy, but about numbers – point averages, number of shots and the overall focus for each player. Believe it or not, but it turns out LeBron can be jealous of Durant, at least in one aspect.
When comparing the two players, one thing is always easily mentioned: Kevin Durant might be a better “pure scorer” (whatever that means), but LeBron James is better overall, a better all-around player. This season, the numbers don’t exactly support that: Durant is averaging 29.8 points with 8.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. LeBron James is at 26 points with 6.6 rebounds and 6.5 assists. It has some even considering that James is coasting up to this point this season.
I get jealous sometimes when I look over at KD and he’s like 16-for-32 and then 14-for-34. But there are games where I have it going, and then at the end of the game, I’m like, damn, I shot just 12-for-16? Why don’t I get up at least six or seven more? I definitely notice it.
First of all, you have to have an unbelievable mindset to get up 30 shots. I always think about it, though. If I get up high-20s, 30 shots a game, what could I do today, with the way I’m playing?
Kevin Durant averages 19.4 field goal attempts per game this season, making 48.8% of his shots. James is taking 16.1 per game, making an incredible 59.1% from the field, which are the numbers you’d expect from a center who doesn’t leave the paint. James might be more of a power forward on many nights, but he still does a lot more than simply hit layups and dunks all game long.
So is James jealous? Last season the same topic came up: Anthony, Bryant and Durant were involved in the chase for the scoring title, while LeBron James mentioned he can score more than anyone if he just focused on that, but that would not be beneficial for him and his team. So is his “jealousy” innuendo actually a criticism of Durant?
It’s worth mentioning that Durant has been playing without Russell Westbrook recently, which is hurting the Thunder. He himself said he should try and shoot less, but then took 28 field goal attempts against the Grizzlies. He’s averaging 22.3 field goal attempts this month so far, with the Thunder going 3-4. We ourselves have mentioned once or twice that the Thunder are going to need Durant to spread the wealth in order to do better without Westbrook, which isn’t happening at the moment.
LeBron James might have something prepared for the next Heat game against the Wizards, trying to show off he can score at will if he just wants to. Is it good for the Heat? Once in a while, probably, but it’s interesting to see that they are 8-2 on LeBron’s top 10 highest usage games and 9-1 in his bottom ten least used games. Bottom line? It’s not only up to him whether the Heat win or lose, now more than ever. The Thunder, on the other hand, need to find someone to be consistent enough offensively (and it has to be Reggie Jackson) so Durant can start taking less shots.