OAKLAND -– With three full days of Warriors training camp behind him, Kevin Durant is looking every bit as wonderful as expected.
“He blends in pretty well with what we already do,” coach Steve Kerr said after practice Thursday. “We haven’t put in a lot of our offense, but he dominates play when he’s on the floor.”
Adding Durant to a team with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, a team that last season averaged a league-best 114.9 points per game last season led the league, seems an almost unfair advantage.
Not that Durant is considering compromise.
“That’s why they wanted me here,” he said. “They want me to come out here and be myself. I’m not going to play timid. I’m not trying to step on anybody’s toes, but I’m still going to be myself. Nobody’s telling me I’m shooting too much. They just want me to be myself out there.”
The question of whether one ball is enough for a team with so many fabulous shooters is perhaps best answered by Durant.
“You never know who it’ll be,” he said. “That’s what makes it so dangerous. From Steph to Klay to me to S-Dot (Shaun Livingston) to Draymond and Andre (Iguodala), all of us can go and take over the game. It’s not even about just scoring. It’s about just having an impact.”
Yet Durant clearly has a license to fire away. And Green is urging him to use it.
“I shot a lot today,” Durant said, “and Draymond told me I wasn’t aggressive enough. So that’s great for me. He’s basically telling me to shoot more.
“Everybody is trying to make me feel more comfortable. But I’m just trying to help everybody else out. When you have teammates that are selfless and want you to do well, it shows. It shows out on the floor, as well.”
Green’s plea comes from years of observation. Durant is peerless among NBA frontcourt scorers. He’s lethal from 3-point distance, deadly from midrange and extraordinary on the block. He crashes the offensive glass for garbage buckets. He finds multiple ways to help his team find points.
The goal now is acclimate into Kerr’s offense, which relies mostly on motion and ball movement than on set plays.
“He’s a dominant offensive player . . . and he’s a great playmaker,” Kerr said of Durant. “That’s what’s really intriguing about putting him with these guys, with Steph and Klay and Draymond and Andre and Shaun is you’ve got got multiple playmakers.
“If we move the ball, we should be able to cut down on turnovers, as long as we don’t make it about The Show and we make it about execution. We should be able to cut back on our turnovers this year. We should be able to get better shots. We should be able to compete at a high level, but execute at a high level, too, which you have to do in June especially.”
June is nine months and, if the Warriors have their way, 100 or so games away. Three days into the march, all appears to be well.