March 4, 2008

Kevin Durant May Be Having A Better Rookie Year Than You Know Who

That's right. We said it. Recently we've been seeing an increase in criticisms of our favorite rookie, which we'd like to try to put to rest. To begin with, let's remember that he is a rookie on one of the NBA's youngest and worst teams. Moreover, he's pretty much the only scoring option, with only Chris Wilcox averaging double digits now that Wally's World is in Cleveland. So what kind of rookie year is KD having? For starters check out the table below.
Player 1 is Kevin Durant. Player 2 is, somewhat surprisingly, Lebron James during his rookie year. The numbers are very similar in field goal and three point percentage (where KD has been getting a lot of criticism). KD holds a slight edge in blocks, fouls and free throw percentage, and Lebron holding the slight edge in the rest.

Still not convinced that KD's rookie year is comparable to Lebron's? Take a look at each player's averages per 48 minutes.

When you look at it this way, Kevin actually is averaging more points per 48 than Lebron did his rookie year. You should also consider that Lebron's team in 03-04 had 4 other players averaging double-digits in points, won 35 games (the Sonics are on pace for 22), and did not have to deal with all of the shenanigans that the Sonics are currently dealing with.

Putting all of that together with the fact that KD's numbers have been gradually improving over the course of the season, we don't think it's all that crazy to say Kevin Durant is putting together a relatively solid rookie year.

The point is not to argue that KD is destined to become the next greatest player in the NBA (he will, but that's not the point) as only time will tell if he develops his game to be as complete as King James'. We are saying, however, that it's time to back the hell off KD and give him his damn rookie-of-the-year award already.


Adam said...

Is it possible that four of LBJs teammates scored in double figures in part due to the King's 6 apg?

Perhaps the soul of the game hasn't blessed KD with court vision...

JMA said...

~4 apg more than KD is really the one that stands out, but you could make the alternate argument that KD would have more apg if his team didn't suck so much offensively.

JBRATER said...

KD looked awesome getting all of his shots blocked agains the pistons last night

Anonymous said...

Lebron - Fresh out of high school.
Durant - Fresh out of college.

Believe it or not, there is a difference when it comes to play. Durant had more experience then LeBron as a rookie. Thats why I think Durants stats are a bit more skewed then LeBrons. A better person to compare him to would be Carmello.

Anonymous said...

Consider how many players in the league are averaging 20, 5rbs, and 5asts a game during the 2007-2008 season.
Two!!! (Vince Carter and Kobe Bryant)
Usually DWade and McGrady accomplish this feat.

There are a lot more players in the league getting 20pts while not really rebounding and getting assists.

But for a rookie to be able to come in and get that 20-5-5 is verrrry impressive.

Anonymous said...

Anthony, for the most part falls right between the two statistically. However, he averaged more points, rebounds and both fg & 3pt percentage. Ideally, those are ROY stas any other year. Regardless, Bron Bron deserved it for his ability to make everyone better.

Jon Koncak's Thighs said...

Apples and Oranges to me. Lebron came in a team leader and a much better team player. Admittedly, I am shocked that KD's shooting percentage is actually 40%. From watching all his games and following box scores, I would have put it at 33% tops. His shot selection is atrocious. Horford should be the runaway ROTY...

Anonymous said...

Maybe LeBron's team won 33% more games than Durant's team will in their rookie seasons because, um, LeBron is having a better rookie season?

I'm not diminishing what Durant is doing this season -- he should be ROY. But better than LeBron? C'mon.

JMA said...

I feel like Bart in the episode where he renders Milhouse not guilty of eating the kids' food, and responds that his own verdict made him pretty mad.

I don't think the verdict says KD is having a better season, just that it's closer than most would think.

Winston B. Mcpotsworthy said...

Points, shooting percentage, assists, rebounds, steals and minutes... edge: LeBron

Could you state again why you think Durant "may be having a better season."

This is a terrible argument. Yeah, Durant is having a better rookie campaign then LeBron, also Shaq fits right in with the PHX Suns.

Nolan said...

No doubt KD is having a solid rookie year. But not nearly the rookie of the year Al Horford is having. Horford is more efficient, plays inside of himself, and is the only legitimate post presence for the Hawks. Just look at the list of guys who have as many double-doubles... All Hall of Famers. Take your Sonics hat off and you'll see that Horford is the ROY.

Cody said...

Good post. I consider LBJ to be better because he has a better all around game. Assists are the main thing, obviously. Durant has had more time to develop after playing at Texas for a year, even though his body is about as muscular as my sister's friend who has a bone marrow problem. Kevin Durant deserves rookie of the year honors, but LBJ was the better of the two his first year in the league

Anonymous said...

KD is not Lebron James and may never be but I think the point here is that KD is having a pretty good rookie season. KD may one day develop into a prolific scorer in the NBA but he'll never have the all around game of Lebron. But then again, who does? MJ, Magic, Larry Legend & the Big O?

JMA said...

Spot on.

WAO said...

Yeah--I think we're having an issue here with some folks reading the title and thinking that's the argument. Trust me; we are in no way saying that KD is, in fact, better than LeBron, We're really just whining that the talking heads seem eager to jump all over Durant at this point in the season, when in fact his numbers are almost as good as LeBron's were.

Anonymous said...

Give me a break on Horford. Check out this article and tell me Horford is not just an average player.

Look at this comparison of rookie years and tell me Al Horford is not headed for a very average career.

Horford: 9.6 PPG, .477 FG%, .688 FT%, 10.0 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.9 SPG, 1.0 BPG
J.R. Reid: 11.1 PPG, .440 FG%, .664 FT%, 8.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.7 BPG

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