Steve Kerr responded to Kevin Durant’s recent statements regarding the Golden State Warriors’ motion offense.
Kevin Durant’s recent interview with J.R. Moehringer of the Wall Street Journal broke the internet. It provided ammo to your favorite neighborhood hot-take artists for weeks on end (and gave birth to my best piece to date). One quotation particularly set the net ablaze. When discussing the offense of his former Bay Area team, Durant expressed frustrations with head coach Steve Kerr’s system.
“The motion offense we run in Golden State, it only works to a certain point. We can totally rely on our system for maybe the first two rounds. Then the next two rounds we’re going to have to mix in individual play. We’ve got to throw teams off, because they’re smarter in that round of playoffs.” Durant continued, ”so now I have to dive into my bag, deep, to create stuff on my own, off the dribble, isos, pick-and-rolls, more so than let the offense create points for me.”
On Wednesday, another Warrior voice chirped up in response to Durant — this time, it was the man of the hour, Steve Kerr.
Surprisingly, Kerr mostly agreed with Durant’s statements regardless of their negative connotation. Here’s a full statement, courtesy of The Athletic’s Anthony Slater:
“I wasn’t at all offended what Kevin said because it’s basically the truth. You look at any system, I mean, I played the triangle with Michael Jordan. The offense ran a lot smoother all regular season and the first couple rounds of the playoffs than it did in the Conference Finals and Finals. It just did.”
In Kerr’s words, what makes players like Durant special is that they can bail out offenses when the going gets tough. It’s no secret that playoff defenses are a different animal, especially as a team comes closer to the NBA Finals. Durant’s one-on-one wizardry gave the Warrior offense a new layer of deadliness.
“That’s why guys like Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant are who they are,” Kerr said. “They can transcend any defense. But defenses in the playoffs, deep in the playoffs, combined with the physicality of the game — where refs can’t possibly call a foul every time — means that superstars have to take over. No system is just going to dice a Finals defense up. You have to rely on individual play. I didn’t look at (his comment) as offensive. I look at that as fact.”
This was a situation in which bad blood could have certainly been spilled. But Steve Kerr took the high road and praised his former player, even going as far as to agree with his sentiments. Credit due to Kerr and the Warriors organization. And props to Durant for starting the conversation in the first place.