Kevin Durant says Warriors aren’t super team, “No, we just work extremely well together”

7 Comments

LeBron James said he has never played for a super team. Riiiight.

Kevin Durant feels the same way about these Warriors. Yes, the Warriors with four of the top 15 players in the NBA, the ones that won 67 games then rolled through the playoffs with a 16-1 record. The one with a seat at the table with the greatest single-season teams ever. KD says they are not a super team.

Here’s what Durant said to Chris Haynes of ESPN.

“First of all, if everybody wanted Steph, he would have been the No. 1 pick,” Durant said. “A lot of people passed on him. A lot of people doubted Steph, saying he wasn’t going to be this good. Klay Thompson, he was just supposed to be this OK shooter in the league, like that’s what you thought of Klay Thompson when he came in. Draymond, nobody wanted him. He was a 6-5 power forward. [They said] he couldn’t play in the league, he couldn’t start in the NBA. Shaun Livingston had a crazy knee injury.

“Nobody wanted him. Nobody thought that he would get back to being Shaun Livingston. Andre Iguodala, he got traded a couple of times. Nobody wanted him. A lot of people didn’t expect these guys to be where they are today. Superteam? No, we just work extremely well together. Coach puts us in position to maximize our strengths.”

Yes, the Warriors core — outside of Durant — were guys overlooked and underestimated by the league at points. However, that is different from not being a super team.

The Warriors are a super team. Players don’t like that term because it suggests winning was easy, that the thousands of hours of work to craft their games didn’t matter, that they team coasted to a title. It can imply they didn’t put in the work — and that’s not fair. Despite what your friendly neighborhood sports talk radio host (or bitter old newspaper columnist) might suggest, there are no easy titles. The Larry O’Brien trophy is no participation medal, it must be earned. Golden State had to figure out how to mesh all this talent, overcome injuries, and in the end handle a LeBron led Cavaliers team capable of hanging with them.

No doubt the Warriors are filled with players where the Warriors recognized and developed the talent that others missed. Credit them for that.

Doesn’t mean the Warriors are not a super team. They are. One that may ultimately be remembered along with the other dominant teams this league has seen.

Utah’s Donovan Mitchell wins throwback Dunk Contest with Vince Carter tribute

Getty Images
2 Comments

LOS ANGELES — The 2018 Dunk Contest went retro.

And it worked.

The throwbacks started with Cleveland’s Larry Nance Jr. going quick-change to pay tribute to his father, the 1984 winner of the Dunk Contest.

Nance later had the best dunk of the night, but it wasn’t enough in the face of Utah’s Donovan Mitchell‘s strong and consistent night highlight by his throwback dunk — donning a Vince Carter Toronto dinosaur jersey and doing VC’s famed 360 dunk — which got Mitchell the 48 points he needed to hold-off Nance and win the contest. It was over.

“Growing up I was a big dunker,” Mitchell said. “I wasn’t really much of a basketball player. I just dunked and played defense, and I watched a lot of Vince’s videos. I’ve been seeing what he’s been doing all year at his age, which is incredible.

“So I figured, you know, at my size if I was able to get it, it would be a great dunk and a way to finish it, you know. And actually, funny story is I haven’t made that dunk in like half a year. I tried it in practice the past two days and tried it this morning, didn’t make it. Tried it last night, didn’t make it… But to be able to make it was why I was so excited.”

Earlier in the night, Mitchell had done another tribute worn a Darrell Griffith jersey — Utah’s Dr. Dunkenstien, who went to Louisville like Mitchell — for an off-the-side-of-the-backboard jumping over Kevin Hart dunk.

“You know, just knowing your history, I think, is the biggest thing,” Mitchell said of the throwbacks. “Just understanding where this game originated, I guess the OGs of the game, I guess you would call it. But just understanding. Even if it’s just dunking. Whether it’s dunking in the NBA in general, Darrell Griffith, we went to the same school in college. I know Darrell very well. Both got drafted by the Jazz, and he was an incredible player. To be able to pay homage to him meant a lot to me.”

For my money, Nance had the dunk of the night, his first in the Finals, a double off-the-backboard throwdown that you had to see on replay to get (it wasn’t as evident in the building what he had done until it was re-shown on the big screen).

It was a fun contest all night long.

Mitchell (the leader in the Rookie of the Year race) started it off brilliantly — he brought out a second backboard, and did a self-alley-oop off one to the other.

Larry Nance Jr. did his tribute to his father with his first dunk, and on his second one came from behind the backboard, going around the world, and threw it down hard. That got him into the Finals.

Oladipo missed all three of his dunks in the first round, which almost doomed his night. He, however, did a dunk wearing the Black Panther mask for his second dunk, which impressed.

Mitchell said he wanted to beat Dennis Smith Jr. because the Mavericks’ point guard had beaten him in dunk contests for years. Smith had one monster dunk, when he went between the legs and threw it down hard and got the full 50. It just wasn’t enough to get Smith to the Finals.

Nance started off the final round by bringing out his father again to throw an alley-oop to a windmill. Mitchell responded with a self-alley-oop to a windmill that was flat-out wicked. That got Mitchell a 50-46 lead after one round of the Finals.

Then Mitchell went to Vince Carter and “it was over.”

Larry Nance Jr. throws alley-oop to himself, throws alley-oop to himself (video)

Leave a comment

LOS ANGELES — Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. immediately motioned for the replay to be shown of this dunk. It was necessary to properly appreciate it.

Best dunk of the night.

Donovan Mitchell won the dunk contest, though.

Larry Nance Jr. plays tribute to father — rock-the-cradle dunk in Suns uniform

Associated Press
1 Comment

LOS ANGELES — Back in 1984, high-flying Larry Nance Sr. won the first NBA All-Star Dunk Contest with this set of dunks — most famously a rock-the-cradle move.

Larry Nance Jr. came into the 2018 Dunk Contest and went nostalgic — all the way back to the Suns’ throwback uniform and the same dunk.

That and a good second dunk got him into the Dunk Contest finals. In that round, Nance Sr. threw an alley-oop to his son for the windmill.

Donovan Mitchell throws alley-oop to himself – off second backboard (video)

Leave a comment

LOS ANGELES – Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell set a high standard with the first slam of the 2018 dunk contest.

Very creative. Very well-executed.

Looks like all that preparation paid off.