5. Welcome to the NBA, Jonas Valanciunas.
Every rookie that is fortunate enough to become a professional basketball player and actually gets a chance to play will eventually get his “Welcome to the NBA” moment. For Jonas Valanciunas, it happened early on in his freshman campaign. Valanciunas and the Toronto Raptors were visiting Oklahoma City and the big man was introduced to Kevin Durant.
With about two and half minutes left in the first quarter, Durant set a screen for Russell Westbrook and rolled out. Westbrook passed him the rock and drove to the basket. Because of the Pick-and-Roll, Durant had an open lane to the basket and the only person in his way was Valanciunas.
The big man attempted to make a play, but he quickly regretted that decision. Durant flushed it down and gave the rook his first poster. Surely, Valanciunas will never forget this moment.
4. Marcin Gortat gets Demoralized by KD.
Durant is one of the deadliest shooters that this game has ever seen. He can pull the trigger from anywhere on the floor, which is a nightmare for opposing defenses because they have to cover him at all times while he’s on the floor.
The Thunder were visiting the Phoenix Suns in January 2013 and with about two and a half minutes left in the game, the Thunder had a comfortable lead. Nevertheless, Durant was still looking to extend the lead and had the ball at the top of the key. Michael Beasley was guarding Durant, but with a quick stutter step, Durant was able to get nice look at the rim. Marcin Gortat was defending Kendrick Perkins, but slid over to contest Durant’s shot.
Big mistake. Durant dropped the hammer and Gortat instantly knew that he was going to be part of a KD poster, just look at his body language. That jam sealed the deal.
3. Roy Hibbert’s 7-foot-2 frame was not enough.
So far, each dunk on this list has one thing in common. Help defenders are left on an island after the original defender on the perimeter could not prevent Durant from driving to the hole. Well, this case was not any different.
This time, it was Paul George who could not keep Durant in front of him. Durant had the ball at the top of the three-point line and simply drove past George by going to his right. The 7-foot-2 Hibbert was guarding Perkins, but he was the only one capable of contesting the shot.
While it was a valiant effort, Durant destroyed him. The big man was knocked back a couple feet and this was in front of his home crowd, what a terrible feeling. Let’s not forget that at one point Hibbert was one of the better rim protectors in the league and Durant imposed his will. The Thunder were down double digits at the time and this is exactly what they needed to get back into the game.
A dunk like that could change the momentum of the game and that’s something Warriors fans can expect this season.
2. JaVale McGee is a Teammate Now but Poster-Mate Then
"Stephen Curry to Kevin Durant for the wide open jumper” and “Stephen Curry with the pick-and-roll pass to Javale McGee for the easy flush” maybe be used early and often during the 2016-17 NBA season.
While these three players used to be opponents, now they’re teammates as the Golden State Warriors look to bring home the Larry O’Brien. While we’re talking about McGee and Durant, let’s take a look at a time the two met at the rim.
Using his length against Andre Miller, KD's long stride took him past the defender and into the paint. In the key was McGee, the rim protector. The victor, Kevin Durant.
1. Brendan Haywood Gets the Haymaker
On an isolation play with Peja Stojakovic, Peja knew he had not chance at defending Kevin Durant. KD drove by the forward and went at Brendan Haywood. Durant rose up and threw down a jam on the big man.
In other words, “Haywood got bodied by KD.” The dunk was pretty Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard-esque as he elevated to the point in which he was able to throw the ball down into the hoop.
Fun fact, the play was so vicious, the team picked up a technical.