Fear, as Kevin Durant has learned, can be a tremendous motivator. The reigning Finals MVP and four-time scoring champion has become a much better defender with the Warriors over the past season-plus, than he was earlier in his career with the Thunder. Just a few weeks ago, he blocked two straight shots in a game against the Pelicans while wearing only one shoe, and for the season he's averaging a career-high 2.45 blocks -- a mark that's good for second in the league behind Rudy Gobert. So why has Durant suddenly become a strong rim protector with the Dubs? Well, to start, it was pretty simple. He didn't want to get called out during film sessions. Via ESPN: "I've been a scorer my whole life," Durant told ESPN this week. "I've been a one-on-one player my whole life. All I've thought about in the past was different ways to score, rather than different ways to impact the game. Since 2012-13, I've been trying to figure out ways to impact the game outside of scoring. "Defense started to creep in there probably two years before I got to the Warriors. Defense started to become a focal point for me where I wanted to be trusted. I didn't want to be the guy where all the film clips are about how they back-doored me, or how someone drove around me or how I'm not contesting shots. I was more so just nervous about being called out during film sessions. That's why I wanted to get better." Per Chris Haynes' story, not only is Durant a better defender, he's statistically the best defender against shots at the rim.
Kevin Durant improved at defense to avoid being called out in Warriors' film sessions
CBS Sports | Nov 10