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Kevin Durant says he may not attempt long shots to beat the buzzer if he’s having an off night statistically

Feb 12, 2013, 3:06 PM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder v San Antonio Spurs - Game One

If you watch enough NBA basketball, you’ve seen it a million times.

With only a couple of seconds remaining on the clock, a player will receive an inbound pass, take a dribble or two, and launch a shot from beyond halfcourt just after time in the period expires and the final buzzer sounds.

In most cases, it’s not an accident.

Players who handle the ball in the majority of those situations often times make sure to wait until the low-percentage shot doesn’t count before launching it, because over the course of an 82-game season, those misses add up to the point where they can legitimately and adversely affect a player’s field goal percentage and three-point shooting numbers.

Kevin Durant is obviously a candidate for these types of shots, being the league’s leading scorer for the past three seasons and the Thunder’s best individual player. He admitted that he thinks about it before taking those halfcourt heaves, and will only do so if he’s having a good statistical night shooting.

From Royce Young of Daily Thunder:

How do Thunder players feel about the halfcourt heave? Should it be counted as an attempt? And do they pull the just-after-the-buzzer move? I asked some of them:

Kevin Durant: “It depends on what I’m shooting from the field. First quarter if I’m 4-for-4, I let it go. Third quarter if I’m like 10-for-16, or 10-for-17, I might let it go. But if I’m like 8-for-19, I’m going to go ahead and dribble one more second and let that buzzer go off and then throw it up there. So it depends on how the game’s going.”

We think of lower-tier players being more likely to pull this trick, especially ones who may be in a contract year where their statistics at the end of the season will, at least in part, directly translate into the amount of future dollars that will go into in their pocket.

Durant’s response was honest and refreshing, but if the game was on the line there’s no doubt at all that he’d hoist it the length of the court if it would give his team a chance to tie or win in the final seconds.

The response from Durant’s All-Star teammate, Russell Westbrook, was far more hilarious when asked if he hesitates in those situations.

“No. Nope … If I was considering about [statistics] I’d do a lot of s–t different,” he said.

  1. miamatt - Feb 12, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    This article should have been about Westbrook’s more cavalier attitude towards that situation. Love it!

    • eventhorizon04 - Feb 12, 2013 at 4:15 PM

      I’m not a huge Westbrook fan, but I appreciated that line.

      Nobody, and I mean nobody, could ever argue that Westbrook plays like a guy overly concerned by his field goal percentage.

  2. timb12 - Feb 12, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    This is all an assumption, but I don’t think he won’t do it because he cares about his shooting percentage. I think he knows how people will dissect it and look at the numbers and thing “he was awful tonight”

  3. loungefly74 - Feb 12, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    KD has earned the right to shoot it any time he wants.

  4. dacapt704 - Feb 12, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    I’ve often wondered if players took that into consideration?

    Think about it…4 quarters a game, 2-3 games a week gives you potentially 8-12 “heaves” a week. 0-12 would definitely bring down your %. Of course it would be nearly impossible to ALWAYS have the ball in your hands in that situation but…I’m just sayin

    Over the course of a season, it would probably add up

    • albertmn - Feb 12, 2013 at 5:16 PM

      Your team won’t even have the ball all of those times. That would only be 8-12 potential heaves for both teams, and at least half of those will be last second shots after running through the offense. I bet it is closer to 2-4 heaves total per TEAM in a week.

      • dacapt704 - Feb 12, 2013 at 5:38 PM

        oh of course…I was outlining the “perfect case” scenario, which is very unlikely

  5. eventhorizon04 - Feb 12, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    I’ve noticed a lot of stars do it, so I’ll give props to Durant for at least admitting it.

  6. savvybynature - Feb 12, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    This attempt to not have certain FG attempts counted is a waste of human intelligence, time and energy. With every team in the league invested in an advanced stats department, does anyone really think teams are incapable of discounting those attempts when they evaluate players? An agent could similarly provide an adjusted FG% to teams rather easily if they were truly worried about it affecting contract negotaitions.

    Turning down an opportunity to get more points when a game is still up in the air is a selfish, loser mentality imo, and I found Westbrook’s response much more “refreshing.”

  7. eagles512 - Feb 12, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    Disappointing

  8. drewzducks - Feb 12, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    I guess that’s better than the frauds who just happen to let their shot go right AFTER the clock hits 00:00.

  9. buffalowned - Feb 12, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    hahaha that’s why i love westbrook. he doesn’t care what people think about him he just plays hard

  10. sportsnut101 - Feb 12, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    Westbrook just went ahead of durant in my book. Love gung ho attitude lol If all u care about is ur stats just ask to sit out play. Dam I shot 48pct tonite instead of my 51pct i must suck. Guess its the new cocky durant. Enjoy being lebron James runner up to MVP next 3 yrs.

    • mytthor - Feb 13, 2013 at 1:32 AM

      Yeah, scrub! Have fun with that SECOND best player in the league status!

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