MANILA, Philippines – The power paradigm in the NBA shifted this week when former MVP and unrestricted free agent Kevin Durant announced he plans to join the Golden State Warriors next season.
Durant, who spent the first 9 years of his NBA career with the Oklahoma City Thunder, will start at small forward for a team which won a record 73 games last regular season and was a win away from a second straight NBA title.
(READ: Kevin Durant and the super-team dilemma)
The reception to the move has received mixed reviews. Some have ridiculed Durant for joining the team that beat him in the Western Conference Finals last season, while others have commended Durant for making the decision that will best help win him his first NBA title.
Count former NBA MVP Steve Nash with the latter.
“I think it’s great. I think that, first of all for Kevin personally, he made the move that was best for him. I think he saw an opportunity to win in Golden State. But I think more importantly knowing Kevin – he’s a friend of mine – I think that he was just as excited to be in a really positive environment,” Nash said on Wednesday.
The 8-time NBA All-Star is currently in Manila as the team manager of the Canadian national basketball team competing in the FIBA Manila Olympic Qualifying tournament against 5 other nations.. Nash spoke with the media on Wednesday during a press conference organized by Fun88.
“They have a great culture there,” Nash added about the Warriors organization, “great coach (Steve Kerr) who’s empowering and at the same time is demanding and I think he’ll bring the best out of them, but I think it was as much a personal move for his happiness and development as it was to win.”
Nash, who was part of a superteam in 2012-2013 with the Los Angeles Lakers, also emphasized during his interview with Rappler how what Durant did was within the rules of the NBA and credited him for taking advantage of it.
“I think it’s natural once the rules allow for it. I think it started with LeBron going to Miami, and then you’ve seen Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, and Blake Griffin, and well, really, you saw it with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo. Although that was a slightly different situation through trades.
“This is just a natural evolution of the rules and the cycle of the game. These guys are the best players in the world, and I think once Boston did it, and LeBron through free agency did it, Kevin Durant just had an opportunity to do it as well.”
When asked if he believes the Warriors are the favorites to win the NBA title next season with their new core, which includes a Big 4 of Durant, Draymond Green, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson, Nash agreed that’s the case on paper, although it doesn’t automatically translate to a championship.
“I would think they’re the favorite on paper but the NBA, as we’ve seen with the Miami Heat in LeBron’s first season, and Cleveland in LeBron’s first season – they both lost. So I think it’s much easier to be predict a team’s success when it’s half way or two-thirds through a season than it is before the season no matter how much talent they have on paper, because at the end of the day, it’s a team sport.” – Rappler.com
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