Kevin Durant is quickly learning just how to play defense the "Warriors Way." After spending a season in Golden State the 29-year-old All-Star has started to truly learn how to play as part of a team on the whole floor.
Knowing that he is willing to take some shots along the way, he's also starting to dish out a few of his own around the rim.
"I tried to contest every shot and help my teammates in the right position," he told the Mercury News. "If I time it right. I don’t mind getting dunked on, but if I’m a little late, I don’t want to jump because more likely it’ll be an And-1 or a highlight. For the most part, I try to be there early."
Durant is coming off of a career-defensive performance Friday, when he blocked seven shots against the Pelicans in addition to his 22 points and 10 rebounds. The former Thunder forward started to truly show his defensive prowess in the NBA Finals in June when he matched up with LeBron James and gave him trouble at the rim.
Now others are starting to notice. His Warriors teammates though always knew he could defend even if they felt no one would acknowledge it.
"He’ll never get credit for that," Draymond Green said. "His offense is too pretty to ever get credit for that."
But with plays like the one Friday when he blocked Pelicans forward Tony Allen twice while wearing just one shoe, some did take notice.
One shoe Kevin Durant is officially the greatest rim protector of all time.— Aram Cannuscio (@AramCann) October 21, 2017
(via @clippittv) pic.twitter.com/IKjT0D2tMw
He may never be considered a candidate for NBA Defensive Player of the Year, but Green and Klay Thompson know the defense he plays and how much better he makes the Warriors when he controls the paint.
"He’s so good at scoring and so fluid with what he does. It’s easy to overlook his defensive side of the ball," Thompson said. "(He's) one of the best two-way players in the NBA."