Even though when Phil Jackson has coached top pros such as Kobe Bryant, Shaq and even Michael Jordan, he is still not sure about how to categorize a player as a “superstar”. Whether it is their scoring abilities or the fan attraction factor, he is still not quite sure.
Jackson commented on this matter concerning questions about Kevin Durant, the 21 year old small forward whom has played phenomenally in just 3 years at the NBA, and who the Lakers will have to face in the coming playoffs (first round). At such a young age, Durant is the current leader in scoring, with an average of 30 points per game and also leads the free-throw attempts statistic with 10 per match.
Jackson said of the young Durant that he has noticed how referees treats him like a consecrated superstar as they go easy on him when it comes to allowing him to go to the line, and Phil Jackson certainly appreciates that in a player as he considers that throwing from the foul line is just part of being a good scorer.
The veteran coach also pointed out that Durant is a player that has the ability to cover all the court with proficiency, meaning going back and forth, left to right, without losing his outstanding approach to the game, which is something Phil Jackson understands very well and a reason why he has an eye on the 6’9 player that is also able to play very well at the power forward position.
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During the postseason games between the Lakers and the Thunder, the task of controlling Durant (who average 28 per game this season against Los Angeles) will fall in the shoulders of Ron Artest.
Jackson, who is known for his well planned strategies said that the trick to bring down overconfident teams is to stop them early, which is an approach he is planning on implementing in the first round of the playoffs with the Oklahoma City Thunder (he already applied this scheme back when he coached the Bulls as he was presented with a similar scenario: Chicago facing upstart rivals in New Jersey and Washington).
He will certainly try to put a lot of pressure on Durant and the Thunder and will also take advantage of their inexperience in certain areas in order to surpass them without major difficulties; therefore, it is up to the acclaimed small forward and his team to go from underdogs to something better at the playoffs.
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