OAKLAND — In the immediate days after Kevin Durant’s injury, the Warriors slipped into their worst regular season swoon in years, losing five of seven games. Many bemoaned how much they were missing their fallen superstar.
But after pushing through a scheduling gauntlet and getting a favorable homestand against the Sixers, Magic and Bucks, the Warriors reversed course and have now rattled off a season-high 11 straight wins, all without Durant — the last five against some of the league’s best teams. So, of course, some of the conversation has predictably shifted to whether Durant’s presence is all that necessary, so much so that Steve Kerr felt compelled to joke about that concept pregame.
“I may not play him,” Kerr said sarcastically. “We are so much better without him. (PR man) Raymond (Ridder) said that there are a lot of stories out there saying we are better without him, so I’ll go with that. Maybe bring him off the bench and play him spot minutes depending on matchups.”
After the game, Draymond Green was asked about the reintegration of Durant and whether the players had joked with him about having to fit in.
“Hell no,” Green said. “Absolutely not. He’ll fit right in. But we don’t need him to fit in. I think that’s where people kind of get it mixed up. He wasn’t brought here to fit in. He was brought here to stand out. That’s what’s important. We don’t need him coming back trying to fit in with what’s going on. We need him to come back and be KD. That’s what he’ll do. We don’t really joke — it’d be foolish of anyone, especially us, to think we’re a better team without him or we’re going to do whatever we want to do. Nah. There’s definitely no jokes and we can’t wait for him to get back.”
Draymond Green asked about Kevin Durant fitting in upon return: “We don’t need him to fit in, we need him to stand out” pic.twitter.com/FOvc5yEx90
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 3, 2017