- Kevin Durant took a jab at his Nets teammates by listing the starting lineup and saying he’s had to carry them to wins.
- Durant is having another dominant season, but the Nets are 6-9.
- Durant said he’s having fun this season and thinks the team is heading in the right direction.
Kevin Durant offered a blunt assessment of his Brooklyn Nets teammates and his role on the team.
In an interview with Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes, Durant discussed his season thus far with the Nets, particularly with Kyrie Irving suspended and Ben Simmons still rounding into form after missing all of last season.
“Look at our starting lineup. Edmond Sumner, Royce O’Neale, Joe Harris, [Nic] Claxton and me,” Durant told Haynes. “It’s not disrespect, but what are you expecting from that group? You expect us to win because I’m out there. So if you’re watching from that lens, you’re expecting us to play well because No. 7 is out there.”
While the Nets are 6-9 and have undergone enough controversy in 15 games to last most teams a full season, Durant is once again having an All-NBA-caliber season. The 34-year-old forward is averaging 30.3 points on 52.4% shooting to go with 6.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.
Indeed, the Nets have had to rely on him — he’s averaging 36.6 minutes per game (10th in the league) and has a 32% usage, sixth among players to appear in over 10 games this season. It’s heavy lifting for a player in his 16th season who tore his Achilles three years ago.
In what inadvertently became another jab at his teammates, Durant also told Haynes that he’s encountered “crazy” defenses this season and had to play 1-on-5.
“Individually, I’m like, ‘All right, I have to dodge five defenders,’ but it’s fun going through that s–t because it’s only making me better as a basketball player.”
Despite the back-handed remarks, Durant said he’s had fun this season and judges himself on how he helps young players.
“It’s been fun grinding with these dudes. It’s been fun grinding with [head coach] Jacque [Vaughn]. It’s been fun trying to leverage myself to help everybody else get better. I’m learning the game more and seeing all types of crazy defenses every night. I never know how a team is going to guard me. This is all helping me mentally as a player to see things a little slower, playing a little slower.”
He added: “I can play with anybody, anywhere, at any time, and you know I’m going bring it every day. That should be my legacy.”
Durant’s pointed analysis of the Nets roster is unlikely to quiet the speculation in the NBA world that he will eventually request a trade again. Durant, of course, asked out of Brooklyn on June 30, igniting the trade market. However, he and the Nets eventually reconciled in August after Brooklyn was unable to get what they deemed a reasonable return for an MVP player with four years left on his contract.
Durant told Haynes that he feels the Nets are heading in the right direction in building a hard-working, accountable culture — something he said he was missing last year.
Durant’s agent and business partner Rich Kleiman told Insider on October 31 that Durant is “150%” committed to the Nets.