The Brooklyn Nets have maintained from the moment that Kevin Durant signed with the Nets that their star forward would not be playing this season. Even now with the season on suspension due to coronavirus, Durant and his manager, Rich Kleiman, have not entertained the thought of the former MVP stepping on the floor this season for the Nets.
But we do know that right up until the season suspension, Durant’s rehab was accelerating. There was video of Durant crossing up Nic Claxton on the way to a right-handed jam. The Athletic’s Alex Schiffer reported on the group of Nets players tasked with playing with and against Durant during his rehab sessions.
They’ve dubbed themselves the “Extra Work Crew.”
And now one of those players, Nets two-way guard Chris Chiozza, has gone public with secrets of the crew on the Glue Guys podcast discussing in more detail what he has seen from Durant during his rehab. It’s a lot more extensive than what we’ve seen.
Chiozza says Durant and the “Extra Work Crew” (Chiozza, Theo Pinson, Rodions Kurucs, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, and Jeremiah Martin) start with a few half-court 3-on-3 games, move to a couple full-court games.
“It is really competitive. It is really whatever KD wants to do. We do 3 or 4 half court game, a couple full court games,” Chiozza tells the Glue Guys. “Just depending on how much time we got, how he’s feeling. They’re going to try to cut it early but if he (KD) he ain’t going to cut it early.”
Sometimes the skill development coaches come in to play a full 5-on-5 game, which represents an escalation in Durant’s rehab.
Before, it was only known Durant played 4-on-4. In the first few sessions, Durant’s dribbling was not what he remembered. Then, Chiozza says, all that rust shook off quickly,
“The first two days we played his handle was a little off because he hadn’t been playing. But after those first two days, if he gets much better than this I don’t know. If he gets better than what he is right now, it is going to be a long season next year for whoever is guarding him.”
The first time he stepped on the floor with Durant, Chiozza was surprised by how tall and skilled Durant is when he’s in your face.
“It is totally different when you see him scoring 40 points on TV than when you see him score 40 points on you, it is a lot different. You play against him, he’s a little taller than 6’9” he can do more than shoot, he doesn’t miss and he can dribble like a guard. He’s definitely the best scorer I’ve ever seen and I think most people would agree with that.”
The workouts, Chiozza says, try to mimic game situations with the Extra Work Crew free to foul the 10 time all-Star. Durant noted that when he spoke with Ian Eagle and Richard Jefferson during the Memphis Grizzlies game.
Yes, he said, his teammates could foul him. In fact, he offered this about Theo Pinson’s D, “He’s a hack.”