Durant Challenges Perceived Toughness of 80s And 90s NBA, Cites Uncalled Flagrant Fouls

Photo: Instagram/Kevin Durant 

Kevin Durant, on his podcast "The ETCs," challenged the idea that the NBA was physically tougher in the 1980s and 1990s, claiming that players back then got away with many flagrant fouls.

While he acknowledged that the old game film shows physical play, the absence of calls for flagrant fouls resulted in a perception of increased physicality.

The evolution of the game since then has led to more sophisticated schemes being thrown at star scorers and specialists becoming nearly extinct, which has led to a more physically and mentally taxing game.

Photo: Instagram/Kevin Durant 

Dumars, NBA's executive vice president and head of basketball operations, stated that the faster pace of the game today, coupled with the floor's spread, is more demanding on the players' bodies than ever before.

Durant's career began in 2007, and he has benefitted significantly from the better spacing afforded to him now than when he first started.

On-ball defenders are given less freedom to impede ballhandlers from reaching their desired destination, and the adoption of the "gather step" and the Eurostep have made offensive play more accessible.

Despite these changes, Durant's playoff performances have been nothing short of impressive, with teams daring him to beat them alone, as seen in the 2021 playoffs, when the Milwaukee Bucks made him work hard to deal with P.J. Tucker.

The Boston Celtics, in the 2022 playoffs, deployed an army of big, long, and strong defenders to guard Durant, making every possession a struggle, and stationing help defenders in driving lanes.

If the Phoenix Suns' opponents in the upcoming playoffs adopt the Celtics' game plan, it is because they saw how uncomfortable Durant was in that series, which the Celtics won without committing a single flagrant foul.

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Source: CBS Sports

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