Russell Westbrook is not a natural pass-first point guard, and he’s often been criticized for looking for his own scoring numbers at the cost of teammate Kevin Durant’s touches. This isn’t because Westbrook is selfish, it’s because, again, he’s not a natural passer.
Is the NBA now getting to a point where it’s criticizing Durant’s scoring instincts? Durant, who led the league in scoring for three straight seasons before finishing second to Carmelo Anthony in 2012-13 (Durant finished with a career-high 4.6 assists last year, and his shooting percentages far exceeded Anthony’s), appeared to take a shot from former Thunder sixth man Kevin Martin in an interview the new Minnesota Timberwolves shooting guard gave on Monday.
Kevin Martin on playing with the Wolves: "This is such a fun team to play on. Nobody is trying to lead the league in scoring here."
— NBA Guru (@NBAGuru) November 4, 2013
Here’s the funny bit: Kevin’s Minnesota teammate Kevin Love, after a dominant week that ended with him scoring at will over the Knicks on Sunday, is actually leading the NBA in scoring at 29.7 points per game. Whether he’s trying to or not is a weird distinction that’s hard to pinpoint, but the irony should not be lost here, as Love accepts his Western Conference Player of the Week honors.
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This could all a bit of a bummer, as Martin, Durant and Westbrook all seemed to have a solid relationship in the trio’s first and only season together. Working without the benefit of a training camp following the shocking deal that sent James Harden to Houston, Martin started the season exceedingly well, and the Thunder finished 2012-13 with the league’s top-ranked offense. Martin and the Thunder disappointed in the postseason after Westbrook went down with an injury, but Kevin’s fleeing to Minnesota seemed to have more to do with Oklahoma City’s insistence on missing the luxury tax than it did ill-will.
Maybe Kevin Durant is to be criticized for leading the league’s top offense and the NBA in scoring at an efficiency rate that still boggles this basketball mind. Or maybe Kevin Martin just misspoke on his way toward applauding Rick Adelman’s fluid offense in Minnesota, one that he’s loved working in during three different stops in Sacramento, Houston, and Minnesota.
That’s probably it. There weren't any shots fired here. Pun intended.
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