Ian Begley of SNY got in touch with the man who knows the relationship between Steve Nash and Kevin Durant the best, Bruce Fraser. He’s both a close friend of Nash, and worked at Golden State when Durant and Nash were together for three years, Nash as a player development consultant.
As Begley writes...
He has a close relationship with Durant, one that was solidified during his five-year tenure as a Warriors consultant. When Durant joined Golden State, he was transitioning into the middle stages of his career. Nash, who played 18 years in the NBA, noticed between-game changes Durant could make that could improve his energy over the grind of a season.
Fraser tells Begley that there were specific things Nash recommended to Durant to help him over than grind.
One was shortening the amount of time he worked between games. Smaller windows on the court, at a higher exertion.
“To credit Kevin, it wasn’t like he had to increase the exertion that much because he goes hard,” Fraser said. “He’s one of the most impressive guys you’ll see working out. He’s efficient. His energy’s high and he’s focused. He’s a worker.
“So to have him switch gears and go into something that might be shorter to me was telling of what his trust and confidence in Nash was.”
Another change Nash suggested? Coming to the arena closer to game time. Traditionally, Durant had been one of the first players to arrive at the arena on game days. “He loved to get on the floor by himself, have his space and get his work in,” Fraser said.
Nash suggested that Durant get to the arena later to conserve his energy.
“Kevin bought in to it and I think it was really good for him,” Fraser said. “….There was a lot of Nash in what Kevin decided to do.”
Fraser told Begley that KD doesn’t take advice from just anyone and that the key factor was that Durant trusted Nash.
“That’s pretty telling because Kevin didn’t need to change anything,” Fraser said. “(He’s) arguably the best player of the world…. But he was confident enough in Nash’s ideas that he made a lot of changes.
“I think that was really valuable and I think it really showed the trust and confidence that Kevin had in Nash. It also showed Nash’s ability to not be afraid to speak on things that he believed in that would benefit a player even though the player was successful with what he was doing.”
Fraser notes as well that KD wasn’t the only Warrior superstar Nash would speak to, offer advice,
“He was really good with (giving) Steve Kerr suggestions with strategy (on how best to approach) messaging players or where he felt guys were emotionally,” Fraser said. “And he was really critical in the playoffs from (the) strategic side for the coaching staff; that’s where he decided to speak more.
“Sitting in those (meeting) rooms, when asked, he was always very, very helpful with his thoughts.”
Similarly, Fraser said that he and Steph Curry would also talk.
“(Nash) was really good with Steph (Curry) in those ways with thoughts on how he might attack a player or a situation. And sometimes I saw the light bulb go on in Steph’s head like, ‘Hmm, never thought of that.’ Just the fact that Nash can bring a different lens is good (for Irving)…. Kyrie doesn’t have to believe in (everything Nash suggests). Because Nash isn’t going to force those thoughts (on Irving). But who wouldn’t want to have a resource like that as your head coach?”