Kevin Durant while on the “Play for Keeps” podcast with Tea with A & Phee Wednesday, spoke about practicing with a variety of players as he continues his rehab.
Durant said he’s been playing with other NBA players, including teammate Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin, and Allonzo Trier, who was waived by the New York Knicks in June. None of those were surprises. (Okay, maybe Griffin). But Irving and Trier are among KD’s best friends in the NBA.
But he also noted that two of the Long Island Nets were among those who’ve been pushing him in recent weeks, certainly since the rest of the Nets traveled to Orlando.
“Couple young guys,” Durant said. “Allonzo Trier, Jaylen Hands, Devin Cannady, Kyrie [Irving], Caris LeVert, Blake Griffin came. It’s just good sparing sessions. We get good shots up, talk about different situations, and it’s just a good basketball environment.”
Should we be surprised? Not really. Even though Hands and Cannady are not on any Nets roster —Brooklyn does hold Hands’ draft rights— they like to see bonding at the far ends of their community of players.
Whereabouts? No one is saying but KD has a place in Los Angeles where he began his recovery from surgery, then his rehab, 14 months ago. Griffin, the former Clipper, lives in southern California. Trier, who was the first NBA player to visit KD during his recovery, lives in Arizona and the two Long Island Nets duo recently posted images of them on social media working out at gyms in L.A. Here’s Hands...
Jaylen Hands was in his at the #BeachRuns @JHANDS08 pic.twitter.com/gTIwbmjTD9— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) July 23, 2020
Durant told the podcast he likes his routine, thinks it’s helping his get back to basketball shape physically, but in a better place mentally.
“I’m playing a lot of one-on-one lately, so what comes with that is your handle is a little better, You’re more quicker with your moves. You’re less indecisive with what you want to bring out. So I’m just crafting that, that playground style of ball even more, just working out by myself or with two or three guys.
“That’s the cool part about it because it’s hard to get that type of play in a regular season because you’re going through the team aspect, you’re training with the team and you want to preserve your body for the season. So if I’m playing 1-on-1 or 2-on-2s, it’s just going to help my creativity. That’s the timing thing that every injured player goes through. Just finding that rhythm again. Hopefully I gain it over time and once I get into real games it translates real fast.”
In talking to NetsDaily recently, Hands and Cannady didn’t talk about working out with KD, but noted they’ve been using the long layoff following the G League suspension and cancellation to improve their game.
Hands explained how he bulked up to 190 pounds. That’s 20 pounds more than when he was drafted.
“Since the season ended, I’ve gotten straight to work,” Hands said. “There’s a lot of areas of my game that I want to improve and I’ve used this time to address them. I’ve also gotten time to spend with my family which has meant a lot to me.”
“Yes, I’ve been lifting six days a week. I’ve put a lot of focus on my lower body. I’ve been focusing on my balance. I’ve incorporated sand workouts, running, yoga, and plyometrics (jump training) along with weights. I’ve gained good weight and have reached 190 pounds for the first time in my life. I love the direction I’m heading and I’m feeling great.”
Hands has also been working out with Olin Simplis, an NBA shooting coach and basketball trainer in California. Simplis helped develop Spencer Dinwiddie’s shooting in the past.
.@CloseUp360 #1— Olin Simplis (@osimplis) August 6, 2020
Appreciate guys dealing with my . Proud of the work you putting in to little bro @JHANDS08 #BigGuardU#theGuardWhisperer pic.twitter.com/VPXWZRlDvK
As for Cannady, he has worked out with Adam Harrington, the Nets director of player development, in July ... also out in California.
Long Island Nets guard Devin Cannady has been working out with Adam Harrington, the Nets director of player development. pic.twitter.com/sdSvRGW36s— Chris Milholen (@CMilholenSB) July 11, 2020
And before that, of course, Cannady completed his course requirements for a degree in sociology from Princeton.
It is no secret the Brooklyn Nets incorporate their G League affiliate players into workouts. In Uniondale, the Nets G League affiliate mirrors their parent club in all shapes and forms.
Will another young Nets player get some time on court with Durant?
Back in February before he hurt his shoulder and underwent shoulder surgery, Nic Claxton, hinted about summer workouts with Durant. Hard to tell if that’s going to happen ... or when
“KD; his resume speaks for itself,” Claxton told NetsDaily back in February. “I look forward to working out with him this summer and I have spoken with him so we are good.”