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Nene says Kevin Durant gets away with carrying the ball

Feb 3, 2014, 1:14 PM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder v Miami Heat Getty Images

For the past few weeks, Kevin Durant has been carrying the Oklahoma City Thunder.

But is he also carrying the ball?

Washington beat the Oklahoma City on Saturday night, snapping the Thunder’s 10-game win streak mostly because they held the super-efficient Durant to an 8-of-21 shooting night.

Then after the game Wizards big man Nene threw out this little barb when J. Michael of asked how they slowed KD down.

“First of all, pray,” he said of how the Wizards were able to hold Durant to 8-for-21 shooting. “Second, have good luck. The third do your best. That dude is very skilled, long body, tall, skinny but strong for that kind of body — and the referees are allowing him to carry the ball.”

The first sign you’ve hit it really big? Everyone starts taking shots at you. Congratulations KD, you’ve finally made it.

I went and looked at some video of Durant coming off the pick-and-roll, plus as the ball handler in transition to see if he does carry and my thought is no more than anyone else in the league.

Part of it is Durant’s length creates the perception of hit because he can come off a pick and keep the ball a little farther away from his body if he wants. The way he moves with the ball when attacking can make it look like a carry at times — but the same is true of Tony Parker and John Wall, not to mention pretty much every guy with a good crossover in the league.

When Durant is idly dribbling the ball out top as the play sets up, you could argue he does carry it at times. If you want a strict interpretation of the rule.

But if you’re going to call KD on that you’re going to start calling half the guys in the league for the same thing because you’re changing how the rule is enforced. And certainly one thing that would make the NBA more fun is more referee whistles. Can’t get enough of those.

  1. sguy2130 - Feb 3, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    So does 90% of the NBA…

    • sportsfan18 - Feb 3, 2014 at 4:29 PM

      Exactly and KD “made” it years ago already…

    • zerole00 - Feb 3, 2014 at 5:52 PM

      Not a personal knock against LBJ, but I remember when they were showing a highlight reel of one of his dunks (and admittedly it was a good one), but I couldn’t help laughing at him taking 6+ steps without dribbling. In slow motion.

      So yeah, the league is lax on traveling. Everyone does it, and it’s also hard to look for when so many other things are happening. Get over it.

    • stayhigh_247 - Feb 3, 2014 at 11:02 PM

      Well Nene when you become as vital to the sport as KD I will then listen to you, until then stfu and set a screen for J Wall.

  2. dinofrank60 - Feb 3, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    So, call it. Guys can’t dribble without carrying it?

  3. savvybynature - Feb 3, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    “When Durant is idly dribbling the ball out top as the play sets up, you could argue he does carry it at times. If you want a strict interpretation of the rule.”

    So, the answer is yes then, he carries the ball sometimes but he gets away with it because he is a big-name superstar.

    • zerole00 - Feb 3, 2014 at 5:53 PM

      I can’t even remember the last time they blew the whistle for ANYONE traveling.

  4. antistratfordian - Feb 3, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    Yeah, he carries the ball a lot, but so do a lot of players. I’d say though that Durant’s brand of carrying does seem more obvious than most. He likes to take that half step backwards before taking off and when he’s doing this he slides his hand underneath the ball and holds it up there for a split second. I always expect a whistle, but it’s not coming.

  5. c2poke88 - Feb 3, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    KD carries his @ss off. The link below shows KD palming and carrying the ball on the same possession, but it was simply described as a “double-crossover” on Demar Derozan:

    You are flat out lying when you say that half the guys in the league get away with what KD did in the above link. But not only does he get away with excessive palming and carrying, KD also gets the benefit of more “questionable” fouls than any other player in the NBA. Through half the season he already has 9 games of 15 or more FT attempts. FOUR of those games he had 19 or more FT attempts, and usually he gets all those FTs on poor shooting nights (how convenient), like when he scored 42 pts on Utah despite only shooting 9-24 from the field. How did he do that? Simple. He got TWENTY-FOUR free-throw attempts and made 22 of them. He is by far the most pampered superstar in the NBA.

    • joeypeepee - Feb 3, 2014 at 2:31 PM

      That link is hardly an egregious carry. Sounds more like someone isn’t a Durant fan.

      • c2poke88 - Feb 3, 2014 at 4:46 PM

        Hardly egregious? So you acknowledge that it is a carry. But it doesn’t “seem” so bad to you because you’re such a KD fanboy? I’ll bet if the link showed Lebron doing the exact same thing, that “no-so-egregious-carry” would have been the worst non-call in the history of the NBA. smh.

      • borderline1988 - Feb 3, 2014 at 8:52 PM

        It’s funny how the league is trying to save face by clamping down on certain things (like flopping, lifting your pivot before the dribble, illegal screens, etc.) but never really extends those calls to the superstars.

        KD does carry the ball often and does get coddled by the refs about as much as anybody. Same thing with Kobe; they never need to flop b/c they know the call is coming anyways. Refs don’t expect KD to miss; if he does, they assume a foul.

        That being said, KD is a sick offensive player…just completely unstoppable regardless

    • doctordunkenstein - Feb 3, 2014 at 4:43 PM

      100% right on all the free throws KD gets. the guy is primarily a jumpshooter but always seems to get to the line. people say lbj gets all the calls but look the other way on durant

    • lavern2014 - Feb 4, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      OMG!!! I guess you are not watching Lebron James, C Anthony and even Zach Randolph. As far as pampered, that title goes to dwayne Wade. When playing in Miami, the refs refers to him before making calls.

  6. nicofthenorthstar - Feb 3, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    This the NBA, Nene. Travel and double dribble have not been enforced for decades.

    • joeypeepee - Feb 3, 2014 at 2:28 PM

      Not sure there are too many pros double dribbling these days. The CYO kids do…

  7. pbtunpaidwriter - Feb 3, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    I’ve watched KD very closely. The thing that separates him (apart from his elite, world class shooting/handle for his size) is his length. What he’s been able to do at his height, length and wingspan are unprecedented in the history of the NBA. He has a 7’5″ wingspan, and he even looks ridiculous on the court. It looks like someone stretched him out like a rubber band and he never returned to his regular length.

    When he gets his shot off, players that guard him are typically 6’6 to 6’9″. KD is listed at 6’9″ but he’s really about 7′. He looks wayy taller than Lebron who’s 6’8″ and even Ibaka and Perkins. No one can constest his shot at his release point and his strides are enormous.

    There have been players who possess close to the skills KD has but no one ever had his length.

    I’d love to see Anthony Davis guard him in an iso situation, probably the only guy who can somewhat check KD.

  8. johngalt1783 - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    Of course he carries the ball, A lot worse than most scorers. Just like Blake Griffin pushes people, illegally, with his two hands, a lot worse than most NBA players.

    Those are the benefits of being a superstar in a superstar league. Live with it.

  9. norcalkingsfan - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    The “everybody does it” argument doesn’t fly. Call the frickin’ carry, on everyone.

  10. nawlinsmitty - Feb 3, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    Carrying has been going on for years. Unfortunately, once the NBA stopped calling it, it became okay to do even in elementary school games. Just another example of the deterioration of basketball skills. More “athletes” and fewer “basketball players” playing the game. Look no further than Blake Griffin.

    • borderline1988 - Feb 3, 2014 at 8:58 PM

      I don’t understand what people are saying about Blake Griffin. He is arguably the best offensive PF in the game already, maybe besides for Aldridge. He can hit jump shots, take players off the dribble, play with his back to the basket, or roll/cut to the basket and finish.

      Offensively, he is turning into the complete package for a PF. True, he doesn’t have natural smoothness or fancy footwork. But he’s so explosive and strong, he doesn’t need to play with finesse. He just makes his move and goes hard to the net. How many young PFs or centers are indecisive in the paint? They could learn a lot from Griffin.

  11. time4complaints - Feb 3, 2014 at 6:50 PM

    As in any sport, players will take advantage of the way the refs call the games. If the refs would make the call he would adjust but you can’t fault him for taking full advantage of the leeway that the refs are giving. It is no different than D Wade traveling on the “Euro Step” move. The refs don’t call it so Wade pushes the envelope and often gets away with traveling. The refs should make the call and KD will adjust and still shake his man and get his points. Nene really thinks carrying is the secret to KD’s success? LMAO

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