Kevin Durant knows the Oklahoma City Thunder are in trouble. With Russell Westbrook out, they are not a championship-level team. They are trailing the Grizzlies 2-1 in their Western Conference semifinals, and Durant is playing his skinny butt off, but he is just one man.
He has chosen not to look at it this way. He has chosen to look at his performance — he is averaging 34.0 points, 10.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.6 steals in 44.3 minutes since Westbrook went down — and suggest it could be better.
“I can do a lot more,” Durant told The Oklahoman Sunday. “It’s always things you can do more. I talk to one of my good friends and he said no matter how good you’re playing you always can do more.
“That’s how I look at it. I just got to find ways to help them out and put them in great positions and continue to just be a vocal leader, a positive leader on the bench and every single time down the court and we’ll be fine.”
Now that’s obviously nonsense. Unless you are Wilt Chamberlain 50 years ago, there simply is not much airspace between 34-10-6 and the ceiling of individual performance for an NBA player. You can handle the ball on every possession and shoot it half of them — which is not far off from the way OKC is playing offense right now — but at some point the returns begin diminishing.
It’s just that Durant is not the kind of guy who is going to say that, because to say anything else is to imply that his teammates are either not good enough, or that they’re the ones who ought to be doing a lot more.