We’ve avoided a lot of the revisionist history that’s come out of San Francisco since Kevin Durant left the Warriors for the Nets on that oh, so wonderful night 14 months ago. Too often, it was hand-wringing and, being San Francisco, deep navel-gazing on why Golden State lost KD, who was responsible for this calamity ... and how much of a dick is Draymond Green anyway? That’s Warriors news.
But this week, Steve Kerr in talking with The Ringer about the rise and fall of the Warriors made a couple of comments that bear repeating to those of us waiting for KD. As the debate rages about who is the NBA’s best player, is it LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo or maybe even Kawhi Leonard, KD’s talents and records seem to be sealed in ice waiting for a thaw. Kerr, though, has his own opinion.
As a player who won rings playing alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in Chicago and Tim Duncan and his European cronies in San Antonio, and as a coach, working with Steph Curry and KD, Kerr knows basketball talent. He doesn’t say Durant is the best player now or ever, but leaves no doubt what he thinks Durant is.
“I would say Kevin (Durant) is ... when you factor in everything, size, speed, athleticism, I think he’s the most talented basketball player I’ve ever seen in my life,” Kerr told Logan Murdock of The Ringer.
“It was more just a level of basketball that I’m not sure had ever been reached before.”
Like we said, that’s saying something. And that wasn’t all. While other (lesser) pundits have suggested that KD may be a problem for the next Nets coach, Kerr says he didn’t have issues with him as Durant dominated in two championship runs.
“He was very coachable. He was a sponge, especially the first year, he wanted to learn a new style,” Kerr said. “I think he really enjoyed playing the way we played, and he was really easy to coach. When a star makes it easy, for a coach to do his job, he just allows everything to click. And so, that first year, I think one of the reasons we were so dominant was because we had that dynamic across the board between Steph, Klay, Draymond, Kevin, we had it all lined up and everybody was on board and clicking, and it was a smooth ride.”.
For Nets fans and NBA fans in general, the anticipation surrounding KD’s return will continue to rise as the playoffs conclude and the long off-season (one without a definitive end date) begins. Take at look at this highlight video, posted Sunday on Twitter...
Y’all just be lying to yourselves about KD lol pic.twitter.com/WI4qNgsOOz— BEAN (@MGRADS) August 29, 2020
It had nearly 4 million views by the end of the day.
Kerr spoke as well as Durant’s injury, one that some including his good friend Kyrie Irving has blamed on the Warriors wanting him back too soon after he strained his calf.
“Devastating, especially because we felt like we had checked all the boxes with him injury-wise, and we’re talking to specialists, and him going through rehab,” Kerr said.
“We thought the plan was sound. And then, it’s a good reminder that you just never know. Health is not a math equation—you think you can get everything right, and you just don’t know. So, that was devastating to see him go down, and for it to be a year-long injury ... for him to come back, and try to come back and try to give us everything he had showed his commitment to us and to the team. And then, I just felt horrible for Kevin. It didn’t work out.”
Kerr added that he thinks Warriors fans, as partisan a group of fans as exists, will welcome Durant back whenever the next time he and fans are inside Chase Center.
“When he comes back, assuming we have fans again and Brooklyn comes to San Francisco, if he doesn’t get a long standing ovation, then we will have already forgotten all the joy he brought us,” Kerr told Murdock. “I fully expect an incredible reception from our fans and our organization, probably have his number retired someday and well-deserved.”