Storyline: Durant-Curry Dynamic

25 rumors in this storyline

Durant played just fine without Curry in the postseason, averaging 27.9 points on 47.9 percent shooting in six playoff games. With Durant going only 28.3 percent from 3-point range, however, perhaps he will have easier looks with Curry’s gravity attracting defenses. “On offense, it definitely picks the pace up for us. Defensively, I think we stick to the same principles. When Steph is not out there, it’s not a lot of off-ball movement to space,” Durant said. “It’s obviously different not having him out there. But when he’s out there, he’s creating space with his movement off the ball and in the pick-and-roll.”

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“You can’t just roll the ball out and be like, ‘Go play. Y’all are talented. Y’all will figure it out,’ ” Curry told Yahoo Sports. “For three years, we had been grinding with a certain roster, and a way of playing, and that all changed and you’ve got to adjust and K especially brings a different level of play but we had to figure out how to balance it all. We had some ups and downs. We won some games, but it wasn’t as smooth as we wanted it to be. And I think we were overthinking it too much, early on. Hit a little stumbling block, talked our way through it, figured our way out of it and we’re better for it.”

“It wasn’t like I just got to know Steph when I came here. I knew what his DNA was already, so that was a plus. I wasn’t surprised with his spirit, his energy. The way he played,” Durant told Yahoo Sports. “I studied him. I study all these players I played against. I kind of knew Steph because he’s one of the best in the league, so I just wanted to see how hard he works on a day-to-day basis. And once I saw that early on, I was like, ‘He’s my type of guy.’ Somebody that I enjoy being around. Somebody that I enjoy learning from and working with. I feel like we’re teaching each other a bunch of stuff about the game. Iron only sharpens iron, so I want to be around the best when it comes to getting better as a player.”
1 year ago via ESPN

Indeed, by season’s end, the seesaw act had worked to the tune of 67 wins. And after Durant’s return to the lineup in early April, the two combined for 119 points on 37-of-66 shooting in two games together in their first-round series sweep of the Trail Blazers. Still, two games does not a championship run make. In fact, it takes two months. Few have learned that lesson quite like Curry. One month he was touted as the “unanimous MVP.” The next, after a disappointing loss in the Finals, “unanimous MVP” became a sardonic epithet, a cudgel against a guy who’d rushed back from injury and into his own basketball Waterloo. He knows all too well that a season of never-ending praise can be upended in days. “I know if I’m not playing well,” he says. “And I can’t say that anybody’s right in the way that they talk about my year.”
1 year ago via ESPN

Later, with 30 seconds left in the half, Steph makes the return official when he eagerly sprints into and launches a 3-pointer with his heel on the half-court logo. Swish. Steph hunches over and duck-walks away from his creation. As one does. He’ll finish with six 3s in only three quarters of play. “I think Steph catered to the whole theme of pleasing,” Bruce Fraser, the Warriors-appointed shooting coach, would later say. “He wanted to please. He catered to the whole, took less for himself. The irony in this season so far is that we had to learn how to play with KD, had to learn how to play without him. And both of those were challenges.”
1 year ago via ESPN

Fissures had been forming. Genial Steph was noticeably frustrated with the state of affairs, perhaps more so than he’d ever been in the Kerr era. He played poorly overall on Christmas — 15 points on 36 percent shooting — and had barely touched the ball down the stretch. In the final four minutes, Curry took as many shots as Cavs role player Richard Jefferson (one). Though it was a regular-season game, Kerr elected to sub Curry out on the last defensive possession for the taller and longer Shaun Livingston. It was an understandable move to thwart a LeBron James pick-and-roll aimed directly at Curry, but it amplified the embarrassment. Steph’s head was in his hands as Kyrie Irving hit the game winner over Thompson.
1 year ago via ESPN

Curry’s reputation was taking a beating, and the Warriors didn’t appear substantially more assured of a title than they would’ve been with last season’s squad. The wooing of Durant wasn’t like Miami’s super-team formation, which arose out of LeBron and Dwyane Wade’s deep friendship. Curry and Durant got along just fine, but Curry simply went along with the pursuit of KD — it wasn’t something he concocted. He’d been a good soldier by accepting what was right for the franchise, by abruptly leaving his basketball camp to fly to the Hamptons. For this, his reward had been a diminished reputation, offensive marginalization and little outward, organizational praise for the sacrifice.
1 year ago via ESPN

1 year ago via ESPN

“I look at the numbers,” Kerr said of the distribution of shots between stars. “We obviously play a little different than most teams. We’ve been last in the NBA in pick-and-roll plays three years in a row. We do a lot of stuff off the ball. So obviously with KD’s arrival, the dynamics changed a little bit. So, Steph has the ball a little less this year. So does KD. Sometimes I’ll just, if I think Steph needs the ball more, I’ll call more plays for him. But for the most part, it kind of happens organically.”

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June 17, 2018 | 10:15 pm EDT Update
If that “somewhere else” was OKC, how would the fanbase react considering they are still applying aloe vera to soothe the burns of two summers ago? Newly elected Oklahoma City mayor David Holt is a lifelong Oklahoman. He served as chief of staff under the previous mayor, Mick Cornett. The two played significant roles in bringing professional basketball to The Big Friendly. “I am fully aware how Thunder fans have felt since July 4, 2016, because I feel it, too,” Holt said. “And I think we’ll feel that way forever if the status quo is maintained. Yet all KD would have to say is ‘I choose you,’ and virtually all fans would forgive him.”
Gabe Ikard was an All-American lineman for the Oklahoma Sooners. Now retired from football, the longtime Thunder fan co-hosts Franchise Players for 107.7 The Franchise in Oklahoma City. Those dual titles grant him solid insight on the psyche of the fanbase. “Durant’s departure to the Golden State Warriors resulted in the biggest backlash to a player’s free-agency decision in the history of sports,” Ikard said. “I’m not quite sure he expected that extreme of a reaction. I’m not sure Oklahomans thought that they would react so severely to his decision either. “But,” he added, “no one thought it would be Golden State. I find it hard to believe people that say they would not welcome him back,” Ikard said. “It’s easy to call him a snake and cupcake now. But if he was dropping 40-plus in Thunder blue again, a lot of fans would find forgiveness quickly.”
June 17, 2018 | 8:05 pm EDT Update