Suns big man claims Udonis Haslem ‘needs help’ for saying Duncan Robinson is a better shooter than Kevin Durant

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Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix Suns big man Jusuf Nurkic said Udonis Haslem needs help after the former Miami Heat player said Duncan Robinson is a better shooter than Kevin Durant.

“We ain’t sayin’ scorers. We ain’t sayin’ basketball players,” Haslem said. “The word upstairs says shooters — shooters. In a shooting competition, Duncan Robinson, yes, I think he would beat K.D.”

Nurkic used social media to respond to Haslem’s comments about the Heat forward and Suns superstar.

Not only is Durant considered among the best players in NBA history, a closer look at the statistics can raise other doubts about Haslem’s observation.

This season, Robinson is shooting 45.8 percent from the field and 41.1 percent from 3-point range for the Heat. His career percentages over his six NBA seasons are 43.3 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from 3-point range.

By comparison, Durant is shooting 53.1 percent from the field and 46.4 percent from 3-point range this season for the Suns. His career percentages over 17 NBA seasons are 50.0 percent from the field and 38.8 percent from 3-point range. He did not play during the 2019-20 campaign because of an Achilles injury.

Haslem may be correct in that Robinson might be able to defeat Durant in a shooting competition. But unless such an event takes place somehow, that will always remain an unanswered question.

The 43-year-old old Heat icon also has drawn some criticism recently after his No. 40 was retired by the Miami franchise earlier this month. Notorious Heat rival Paul Pierce challenged the notion that Haslem was worthy of the honor, saying instead that the jersey retirement was “given” rather than earned.

Nurkic himself drew headlines earlier this season as he was the victim of being struck in the face by Draymond Green in an incident that led to the suspension of the Golden State Warriors star.

For his part, Robinson has been a key player for the Heat this season, averaging 13.7 points per game to rank fifth on the team. His 41 games played lead the club, which has a 24-19 record heading into its meeting with the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.

It will be interesting to see what Robinson’s role will turn out to be going forward after the Heat acquired Terry Rozier in a trade with the Charlotte Hornets.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. His introduction to the business included the legendary Heat-Knicks rivalry from the 1990s.