Kevin Durant Joins The Elite 50-40-90 Club
Only two players in NBA history have won the NBA scoring title for four or more consecutive years - Wilt Chamberlin (1959-66) and Michael Jordan (1986-93) both winning seven straight seasons. Five other times players have reached three consecutive scoring titles but failed for their fourth - George Mikan, Neil Johnston, Bob McAdoo, George Gervin and Michael Jordan (1995-98).
Coming into the 2012-13 NBA season, Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant was poised to join Wilt and Jordan as the only players with four or more wins. For most of the season, Durant held the lead but was surpassed by Carmelo Anthony near the end of the year and it appears will fail to win the title by the smallest of margins (Carmelo’s 28.7 vs. his 28.1).
However, Kevin Durant will enter into some elite company with his shooting performance this season. If his numbers hold over the last game of the season, he will enter into the 50-40-90 Club which is achieved when a player shoots over 0.500 for field goals, 0.400 for three-pointers and 0.900 for free-throws while meeting league minimum makes (300 FGs, 55 3PTs and 125 FTs).
This ultimate standard for shooting performance in a season has only been achieved by five players since the introduction of the three-point shot in 1979-80 NBA season - Steve Nash, Larry Bird, Mark Price, Reggie Miller and Dirk Nowitzki.
Note: This table only reflects seasons since 1990. Prior to 1990, Larry Bird (86-87 and 87-88) and Mark Price (88-89) achieved the feat.
Over the 2012-13 NBA season, Durant has shot 0.510 from the field, 0.416 from three-point range and 0.905 from the line to join the 50-40-90 Club. And at the age of 24, is the youngest to ever achieve this feat. Over his career, this is his best shooting year from the field and line and the second best season from three point range. It’s clearly his best shooting season ever and can be considered as of the best of all-time from the standpoint of efficiency and overall performance.
Below is graphical representation of the improvement in Kevin Durant’s shooting efficiency using True Shooting Percentage, which is an advanced basketball metric used to gain a better understanding of overall shooting efficiency compared to looking at FG%, FT% and 3PT% individually.
As you can see from the chart, the 2012-13 NBA season was Durant’s best true shooting percentage season at 0.647, which tops his 0.610 put up last season. Since 1990, this is the 7th best true shooting percentage season.
So while Kevin Durant is likely to miss out on his fourth consecutive scoring title, he had his best shooting season of his career and one of the most efficient of all-time.