How will the Milwaukee Bucks guard Kevin Durant?
Despite losing by 23 points on opening night, Kevin Durant still had an outstanding performance and was one of a couple of bright spots for the Nets. He finished with a game-high 32 points (tied with Antetokounmpo) on nearly 58 percent true shooting to go along with 11 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks.
In that game, the Bucks used a variety of defenders against Durant and they had varying degrees of success. Durant went 13-of-25 from the field and 3-of-7 from 3-point range. Here is every player Durant took a shot attempt against and how he fared against them, per NBA.com/stats:
- Khris Middleton (6-of-10, 3 assists)
- Pat Connaughton (4-of-7)
- George Hill (2-of-3)
- Brook Lopez (2-of-3)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (1-of-3)
- Jordan Nwora (0-of-2)
- Jrue Holiday (0-of-1)
Yes, that equals more shots made and attempted than what he had but it means that there were two defenders close by when Durant took the shot, specifically when he’s taking a shot at the rim and there are multiple defenders around him.
Of course, a few of these names won’t be available tonight, but the Bucks will also have Wesley Matthews and, if they want to get really weird, Semi Ojeleye available to take turns defending him.
The big key for this game is finding a player who can defend Durant reliably so that Middleton doesn’t have to do so as much. He’s not as effective (as shown by those matchup numbers) and it also takes up the energy he needs for the offensive end. Sure, throwing him at Durant for a few possessions is fine, but he shouldn’t be the primary defender.
Look for the Bucks to throw multiple bodies at Durant again to see what works while Holiday gets the James Harden assignment.