Kevin Durant is leaving the NBA’s No. 2 offense in terms of efficiency in 2015-16 and joining the most efficient offense.
Durant says he will sign a two-year, $54 million deal with the Golden State Warriors with a player option after the first year.
In signing Durant, the Warriors will become the third team in NBA history to finish a season with the league’s best record and then add a former NBA Most Valuable Player in the next offseason. They join the 2009-10 Cleveland Cavaliers (Shaquille O'Neal) and the 1985-86 Boston Celtics (Bill Walton), according to Elias Sports Bureau research.
The Warriors’ odds to win the NBA Championship moved from 3-2 after the finals to 2-3 following Durant’s announcement.
The rich get richer
Using MVP voting as a barometer, the Warriors now have three of the top seven players in the NBA from last season.
Those three will play alongside Klay Thompson, whose 276 3-point field goals in 2015-16 rank third in a single season in NBA history.
Durant will likely slot into the lineup in place of Harrison Barnes. Durant averaged nearly 16 points per game more than Barnes did last season. Durant also averaged more than three more rebounds per game and more than three more assists per game.
Curry and Durant were first and third in scoring last season, and if they keep up their averages next season, they can do something a pair of teammates hasn’t done since 1983.
The last time a pair of teammates finished in the top three in scoring was the 1982-83 season, when Alex English and Kiki Vandeweghe of the Nuggets finished first and second.
Including the playoffs, Durant has eight 30-point games at Oracle Arena over the past five seasons. The only players with more 30-point games there over that span are Curry and Thompson.
In a league of his own
Durant was the only player to average 28 points and seven rebounds last season. He did so while making more than half of his shots.
Durant is the only active NBA player to average 28 points and seven rebounds while shooting at least 50 percent in three different seasons. The only players in NBA history to do it more times than Durant are Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal and Karl Malone.
While Durant’s scoring is well-known, his defense is vastly underrated. Of the nearly 300 players that contested at least 250 shots last season, Durant led all of them in field goal percentage allowed as opponents shot 33 percent when contested by Durant.
The Warriors ranked seventh in defensive efficiency last season.