Kevin Durant is eager to get more involved in pick-and-roll plays with Stephen Curry. Durant, more than anyone, knows what it’s like to be at both sides of the sword when it comes to the back-to-back MVP.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to get out of his way and let him rock out,” Durant told Connor LeTourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Curry was insistent on getting more pick-and-roll plays after going a mere 4-of-11 from the floor against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the much-awaited Christmas Day matchup. Head coach Steve Kerr concurred and the results showed in a 28-point, seven-rebound, seven-assist outing against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.
“Last game, you could see his confidence in the pick-and-roll is starting to get higher and higher,” Durant said. “Now he’s shooting deep threes, that’s what we like.”
Durant’s arrival in the Bay Area was speculated to be a huge opportunity to become another John Stockton–Karl Malone tandem alongside Curry, but things played out differently throughout the first 33 games of the season.
“I would love to, especially with how (Curry) shoots the ball and gets to the rim,” Durant said. “I know I could probably get to the rim as well. It’d be a tough assignment to stop. We’ve been working on it a lot in practice.”
The idea of a pick-your-poison scenario between Curry and Durant, both excellent shooters with superior ball-handling ability, is enough to make most NBA GMs salivate at the thought of it.
Despite the play-calling being mostly up to the coaching staff, it is Curry’s responsibility as the leader of the team to put himself in situations where he and the offense can flourish, as running around screens and finding an open corner to shoot from hasn’t proved efficient for the All-Star point guard thus far.
While the Warriors still have rough edges to polish, the team has improved their defense considerably from the start of the season as they have incorporated JaVale McGee and David West into the defensive core of the team throughout December.
They’ll face their next test against the Dallas Mavericks tonight, a team that plays a slower pace and will force Golden State to beat them in a half-court setting.