It’s hard for me to believe that the horrific injury to Paul George played no part in Kevin Durant’s decision to leave Team USA, citing exhaustion and fatigue. It’s also hard to blame him for making the decision, for whatever reasons he believes important to him.
But it is true that Kevin Durant led the NBA in total minutes played last regular season, so to scoff at his citation is a bit of a leaky bucket. However, other members of Team USA weren’t far behind Durant in wear and tear garnered in 2013-14.
• Kevin Durant led the NBA in total minutes played with 3,122, followed by DeMar DeRozan (3rd-most) 3,017, John Wall (5th, cut) 2,980, Damian Lillard (7th) 2.937, Paul George (9th, injured) 2,898, Klay Thompson (11th) 2,868, Steph Curry (14th) 2,846, Gordon Hayward (17th) 2,800, Chandler Parsons (19th) 2,783
Had Gordon Hayward not missed five games, at his per-game average he would have landed tied for the fourth-most total regular season minutes played with Carmelo Anthony at 2,982.
• Durant played in 81 regular season games averaging 38.5 MPG. Team USA teammates James Harden played 73 games 38.0 MPG, Gordon Hayward 77 games 36.4 MPG, and Durant’s replacement Rudy Gay played 73 games at 34.7 MPG
And some of these numbers get more interesting with the new SportVu player tracking technology.
Distance Traveled Per Game
• Chandler Parsons 2.7 miles (led NBA, tied with Jimmy Butler)
• DeMar DeRozan, Gordon Hayward, Steph Curry 2.6 miles
• Paul George, Damian Lillard, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson 2.5 miles
• John Wall, Kyle Korver, Rudy Gay 2.4 miles
Total Miles Traveled on the Court in 2013-14
9 of the top 12 have been listed on the Team USA roster this summer
• Nicolas Batum 216.0 miles
• Monta Ellis 208.3 miles
• Damian Lillard 207.5 miles
• Kevin Durant 202.6 miles
• DeMar DeRozan 202.6 miles
• Klay Thompson 199.7 miles
• Wesley Matthews 199.2 miles
• Chandler Parsons 198.9 miles
• Gordon Hayward 198.8 miles
• John Wall 198.2 miles
• Stephen Curry 197.3 miles
It’s a bit mind boggling to realize just how far these guys run in just regular season NBA games, let alone practices, playoffs and other activities. All of these players could have run from New York City, NY to Philadelphia, PA. And back. And still would not have run as far as they did on NBA basketball courts in 2013-14.
Every player named to Team USA this summer has more than their far share of wear and tear netted from a grueling NBA season. It’s hard to begrudge those who chose not to participate, instead resting their bodies for another run at the ultimate goal.
But those who are sticking it out, choosing to represent their countries in the FIBA World Cup tournament — one which much of the international community considers more important than the Olympic tourney — we salute you. We will be watching.
Interesting trend in minutes per game over the last ten years.
Carmelo Anthony and Jimmy Butler were tied for the most MPG played last season at 38.7. Kevin Durant was third at 38.5 MPG.
Pace doesn’t seem to have much correlation in this ten year sample size, although it is interesting to note the massive leap in pace by the league as a whole last season. A new trend for the future? We’ll have to see. Edit: On second look, there might just be a bit of an inverse, mirror effect at play for Pace and MPG. Probably requires a larger sample size to confirm or debunk it
What’s sure is that minutes per game have been on a steady decline for the NBA leader over the last decade (despite Tom Thibodeau’s best efforts to run a guy into the ground every season). A Chicago Bull was the NBA leader or tied for the NBA lead in MPG for the last three seasons running.
Of this list, only Deng (who plays for native UK in FIBA events), Monta Ellis and Jimmy Butler have never been members of a Team USA final roster.