If there is one thing that is Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns is able to do, it is score the basketball. In fact you could make the case that he is the best pure scorer in the history of the game. His combination of size, handles and ability to get wherever he wants on the court meaning you can never stop him, just try to slow him down.
Whether Durant should be in the G.O.A.T. debate is another story - although Durant has thoughts on that as well - but there is no question he can score with the best of them. In a game of H.O.R.S.E. or shot-making competition, he is probably the first player in the league who is being selected.
Which makes the recent comments made by Udonis Haslem about Durant and his ability to shoot in comparison to some other players extremely puzzling.
Haslem was speaking with Mike Miller on their The OGs Show, when the topic of shooters in the league came up. Not basketball players as Haslem stressed before continuing, but just the act of shooting the basketball. Which is when he dropped this unexpected opinion on Duncan Robinson and Durant.
For Haslem to say Robinson is a better pure shooter than Durant might just be one of the most outrageous things a former professional has ever said. It doesn't help that Haslem and Robinson were teammates for Robinson's first five seasons in the league, and so it may look here like Haslem is sticking up for somebody he knows.
Haslem is also surely aware that shooting in the league doesn't happen in a vacuum either, and that players are always going to be guarded. Few more tightly than Durant, who always draws the toughest assignment of an opponent. Robinson on the other hand not only has the luxury of playing next to stars like Jimmy Butler, yet at one point not long ago he was out of the rotation completely.
The reason for this? His shots weren't falling at a consistent enough level - and it wasn't until he diversified his offensive skills - that Robinson found some minutes with the Heat again. He absolutely deserves credit for this, but not once since 2007 has Durant ever been benched because his shot wasn't falling.
In fact Durant has now started - yes started - over 1,100 NBA games across the regular season and postseason, while he has a career average of 50 percent from the field in regular season contests. Robinson's is a much more pedestrian 43.3 percent, and the one thing he in theory can do better than Durant, which is 3-point shooting, he is also faltering behind this season.
Again this is partly because Robinson has tried to become more than just a long-range shooter, but the 41.1 percent he is putting up is miles behind the 46.4 percent of Durant, which is a top five mark in the league this season. So if Durant is able to make shots in an actual NBA game when defenders are zoning in on him at a better rate than Robinson, surely that would be the case in a shoot-off?
If a Suns fan tried to tell you with a straight face that Grayson Allen was a better shooter than Durant, would you believe them? Of course not, and Allen is having the season of his life this year, leading the league in 3-point shooting percentage at 49.1 percent.
Allen is also a much better comparison to Robinson, because they both have similar roles on their respective teams. Knock down as many open looks as they can that come their way, and support the stars on this team offensively by picking their spots. Yet if you asked who was the better shooter between Robinson and Allen, it is not even a given that Duncan would win that argument either.
So Haslem going after Durant in this moment is a strange one, not least because Durant at 35-years-old is having a brilliant individual season. He clearly still loves this game too. It is a stat that has been mentioned before but should be brought up as often as possible, he is averaging more points per game (29.6), than in two of the four seasons when he won the NBA's scoring title.
Robinson on the other hand has a career average of 11.4 points per contest, and this season he has managed a career high at 13.7. Durant has never put up less than 20 per game in a season - an insane stat when you think that extends back to the Bush administration - and he's had to do it while pretty much always being the best player on a team. Haslem is taking an big L on this one.