- Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) is a professor and an NBA analyst for ESPN.
Since making his professional basketball debut on Halloween night in 2007, Kevin Durant has spent more than 14 years blazing an amazing trail through the NBA and international basketball.
Now, at age 33, not only is Durant on pace to win his fifth NBA scoring title but he also has emerged as a legitimate MVP candidate by leading the Brooklyn Nets to the best record in the Eastern Conference, despite the season-long absence of star point guard Kyrie Irving.
Durant already has an MVP trophy, two Finals MVPs and three gold medals in his trophy case. But the four-time scoring champ has evolved over his 14 years in the NBA, and the version of Durant currently dominating the basketball world is different from the one we saw in Oklahoma City or at Golden State.
Two years ago, the question around the league was whether Durant would ever be the same after suffering a devastating Achilles injury during the 2019 NBA Finals. He has answered that question emphatically, averaging a league-leading 28.6 points per game with an updated approach to scoring that remains unguardable and boldly defies the conventional wisdom of his era.
Simply put, while most of the NBA is rapidly turning away from the midrange jump shot, Durant is leaning into it. His ability to score effectively on 2-point jumpers has been the biggest reason he’s been able to regain his crown as the best scorer on the planet.
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