Kevin Durant’s Shot Distribution: 1st Quarter vs. 4th Quarter

While Kevin Durant has unquestionably had an MVP-caliber regular season, I still worry that his game won’t translate to the postseason.  Too many times in last year’s playoffs, you would find Durant with the ball 30 feet away from the basket, with the shot clock below 10 seconds, forced to take a less-than-optimal shot.

I looked at Durant’s shot chart for the entire 2011-2012 season, and noticed a difference in his shot distribution between the 1st and 4th quarter.

Here’s Durant’s shot distribution in the 1st quarter:

And here’s Durant in the 4th Quarter:

Relatively speaking, Durant doesn’t shoot as many threes in the 1st quarter.  But when the 4th quarter rolls around, he shoots about as many left wing threes as he does layups from the left side.

This is my worry with Durant: does he settle for the three too much, and by extension, will he make the right shot selection when the defenses inevitably tighten up?  Or, do the Thunder as a team settle too much for Durant’s long distance shots?

While this data is very far from a comprehensive analysis, it’s a data point that merits more investigation, and merits more questions about how Durant’s game will translate in the playoffs.

You can peruse this shot chart data yourself, here on this website: http://vorped.com/bball/index.php/player/shotchart/1106-Kevin-Durant