Luc vs. Durant

Luc Matches Up Well with KD

Steve von Horn of Milwaukee Bucks blog Brew Hoop has begun a series called « In Defense of Defense » wherein he will analyze Luc’s impact on the defensive end of the court against some of the game’s elite wing players. Over the next few weeks, von Horn will analyze every matchup between Luc and several star players over the past three years. He will post his findings to Brew Hoop and we’ll share them with you here on MbahAMoute.com.

After a study of Luc’s defense against the league’s best all-around player — LeBron James — was complete, the next step for Brew Hoop’s Steve von Horn was to measure Luc against the NBA’s best scorer, Kevin Durant, the three-time defending scoring champ. Through their various matchups since Luc entered the NBA in 2008, Durant has gained a great deal of respect for No. 12, to the point where KD mentioned Luc as one of the two best defensive players he’s faced, in a chat with fans on Twitter.


Kevin Durant has called Luc one of the toughest matchups in the league (Getty Images).

Von Horn’s findings showed that Luc did his best work against Durant on the perimeter by crowding the star scorer and forcing him to make difficult decisions because he couldn’t drive to the basket.

« By crowding Durant and staying physical with him — while still having the quickness and length to effectively challenge shots and shut down driving lanes — LRMAM forces KD into tough situations on the perimeter. The choices for Durant are often whittled down to:

  • 1) Give the ball up
  • 2) Take a contested jumper
  • 3) Try to force a drive into the paint

The degree of difficulty imposed by Luc leads to more turnovers and less free throw attempts for Durant. »

Von Horn’s chart shows that the one area Durant had success against Luc was once he got into the paint, within close range of the basket. But Steve argues that those numbers are deceiving as well.

« The paint scoring numbers look worse for LRMAM than they are in reality. The simple way to demonstrate this is to point out that over the last three seasons in stints with Mbah a Moute on the court, Kevin Durant is 7-9 in the paint and 7-26 everywhere else on the floor. »

It’s also important to note, that Luc didn’t control Durant on his own, quite the opposite in fact. Luc has often talked about how his ability to play great defense is dependent on the others around him to do the same. Von Horn writes that some praise for limiting Durant should go to Luc’s teammate Carlos Delfino.

« When I checked the tape, Carlos Delfino spent a good amount of time defending Durant man-to-man when LRMAM shared the floor with him, so he deserves some of the credit for the great numbers as well. Even so, Mbah a Moute clearly had a big impact on the plays where he matched up against No. 35. I’ve created a video to give you a better idea of how LRMAM regularly got stops against the best scorer on the planet. »

 

So far, Luc’s defense is holding up well against the best in the game and he’s earning every bit of his reputation. Next, Steve von Horn will look at Luc’s defense against New York Knicks scorer Carmelo Anthony.

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