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The secret to Kevin Durant’s success, per Nets coach Steve Nash

Kevin Durant, Nets

Kevin Durant has been locked and loaded since the season jumped off. Some mere mortals might have felt more pressure, but he has a certain way about him where he really doesn’t seem to feel much of it. Durant came in ranked the best player in the NBA by ESPN and Sports Illustrated. That was before we knew he would be without the services of the superstar he first signed on with to play for the Brooklyn Nets back in 2019, Kyrie Irving.

Without Irving around, the Nets have really leaned on the 2014 MVP to carry things. Durant is averaging a league high 28.6 points per game and averaging the eighth most minutes per game in the league with 35.8 per outing. After major surgery on his Achilles a couple years ago, few might have guessed he would have looked as superb as he has in his return. But through the playoffs last season and a quarter of this one, he pretty much looks as ridiculous as he ever has been.

Ahead of the Nets’ (16-6) showdown with the second-placed Chicago Bulls (15-8), coach Steve Nash shared some of the inner workings of Durant’s approach.

“Kevin’s mentality is a huge reason of why he’s one of the best players of all time,” explained the second-year tactician. “He loves the game, he comes in every day and has a laser focus on his routine, he finds the most happiness when he’s on the basketball court. The success he has on the court is really the mentality as much as it is the gifts.”

Kevin Durant has seen just about every type of defense through 22 games this season. Teams have run box-and 1, triangle and 2, 2-3 zones, exotic looks, extreme doubling or tripling, fouling a lot, and leaving open the teams non-shooters.

He has found ways to process the information in real time and stick the jumper when it’s there or make the right read when it’s not. A couple games ago, he spotted an aggressive trap from New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose and hit reserve forward James Johnson for what turned into the game-winning free throws. KD is doing it all for Brooklyn.

“The joy that the game gives him makes him sacrifice every day,” Nash added.  “So to tell him ‘hey we’re gonna limit your minutes on the back-to-back’ is not gonna get over very well.”

Doesn’t sound like the Nets love the idea of telling Durant he needs a rest. And so far that’s spelled major problems for anyone trying to defend the two-time NBA Finals MVP.

If the Nets can beat a tough and talented Bulls team, they’ll have a little breathing room atop the standings. That’s in no small part because of how amazing Durant, his mentality, and his gifts have been for this team.