BROOKLYN — Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has played with some of basketball’s best players and in his coaching career, he has managed some of the best, including Nets superstar Kevin Durant.
It’s why Kerr could understand where Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn was coming from a few weeks back when Vaughn said he had to make sure not to take for granted just how good Durant is on a nightly basis. Kerr can relate better than most not only having coached Durant during his stint in Golden State, but also coaching one of basketball’s premier players in Steph Curry.
“I think the guys who are truly great, historic players, guys who will be remembered forever,” Kerr said before the Nets hosted the Warriors on Wednesday. “Like Kevin, like Steph, sometimes you take them for granted just cause they’re great every single night. So I know what Jacque is saying. We expect steph to be great every night. When I coached Kevin, I expected him to be great every night, and sometimes you need to stop and appreciate what you’re seeing because you’re looking at a couple of the greatest players of all time out there.”
While Durant may have had a low-scoring night on Wednesday during the Nets’ blowout win over the Golden State Warriors, he has been dominating throughout the entire year. Durant still shot better than 50% from the field in the win and his 56.4% shooting percentage this year is the best of his career.
And Durant’s 30.1 points per game is the best he’s averaged since his 2013-14 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“I mean, I never shot this high on percentage before,” Durant said following Wednesday’s game. Just thinking the game a little bit different than I was before. I always felt like I could shoot this well, but I think just the quality”y of shots and the looks that I’m getting and my focus level on my fundamentals is what’s keeping me there. Sometimes, I shoot the ball and pull it back or fade back, or my upper body be fading when I shoot and it may be short or shoot an off-balance shot. So I’m just trying to stay focused on straight up-and-down, just using my fundamentals every time I get a good look, and I’m starting to knock them down.
“Just keep putting that work in in-between games and keep visualizing what I want to do out there and, you know, I’ll be fine.”
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While the NBA world has marveled night in and night out at what Durant has done this season, many have asked what’s been different for him. To Kerr, the answer was clear.
“He’s just one of the great scorers of all time. He’s a phenomenal shooter, he’s can get any shot he wants,” Kerr said. “He’s the same guy. He doesn’t look any different to me now than he did a few years ago when he was playing with us. So, happy for him, happy that he’s healthy and, and playing well, and happy for their team.”