Kevin Durant is averaging 27.0 points on just 16.9 shots per game while also averaging career bests in rebounds (8.4), steals (1.48) and blocks (1.76).
“He’s even better than he was billed to us,” said Warriors assistant coach Bruce Fraser, Durant’s frequent workout partner. “He can go out and get 50 easy. He’s that good. And in our environment, no one would get upset.
“You can see our guys trying to get KD the ball more at times. But he’s chosen to blend in, learn and try to do it the right way.”
Said Steve Kerr: “I knew he was good. He’s kicked our ass for years. I just felt our style of play would suit him. He was brilliant in OKC, but the way they play, there’s a lot more isos. It was sort of take turns: Russell (Westbrook) would go, then KD would go. I think KD understands he’s going to have the ball in his hands less [with Golden State], but he’ll be in more advantageous positions to score. I think he’s really embracing the style. I think he likes making plays for other guys, and vice versa. It’s a fun way to play.”
Said Kerr: “He’s playing more 4 here than he played in OKC, so we’re asking him to anchor the paint at times. It doesn’t come naturally to him. He’s really more of a guard than he is a big. But he’s adapting, and he’s getting better. When he’s locked in, he’s an all-league defender. But it’s an awful lot to ask a guy to score 27, 28 a game and be locked in for 48 minutes.”
“I look at it like, if I shoot 15-16 shots a night, 13 of ’em gotta be solid, and the rest can be some pull-up 3s or fadeaways that I kind of work on that I wouldn’t mind if I make or miss those,” Durant said. “I look at those other shots like heat checks — just trying stuff.
“But I know what our offense is. So when I get those shots that I get, I know that I gotta be patient with ’em. And I know I also gotta be … they’re precious. I think, my shots now, I value them a little more than I did before ’cause I might not shoot 30 shots whenever I want. And that’s not a bad thing. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. That’s just how we play here … especially when you got two other guys on the perimeter that can go off and score 30 any night as well.
“It’s a different situation. When I won MVP in 2014, I was playing differently. I had the ball in my hands a lot more. I was playing the point forward role, more like how LeBron [James] plays in Cleveland. And it was fun, but it was a lot. I had to do a lot out there on the floor. And I got rewarded for that by winning MVP, but it taught me a lot about the game. That was a huge year for me.
“I felt like I made Thabo Sefolosha better. I made Kendrick Perkins better. I made Serge Ibaka better. And it wasn’t because I was just scoring. I think my leadership … we were down. Russell was out most of the year, so I had to step into a different role. I felt like that was one of the better years for me all around. This year, I just feel like I’m trying to fit in but also still be myself. I know that I can’t just run and go grab the ball and clear everybody out. Coach wants me to sometimes, but it’s not going to be like that most of the time.”