From the creative ("Slim Reaper") to the mundane ("KD"), the basketball world has yet to find a nickname for Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant that captures the supreme nature of his talent.
The 25-year-old MVP front-runner may have indirectly offered up the latest suggestion: "Coach."
I hope so. We’ll see. I always hear the guys that can play a little bit aren’t smart enough to be coaches, but I’m learning. I’m learning from a lot of different guys. Trying to put myself in different shoes. We’ll see. I like to see guys get better, I enjoy watching the progress of the team.
That actual transition is years—perhaps decades—away from becoming a reality, but Durant is apparently already getting his feet wet. In the final minutes of Friday's victory, he grabbed the white board and diagrammed a play to get sophomore wing Jeremy Lamb an open look from the short corner.
Given that the game of basketball seems to come so easily to him, perhaps it's no surprise that Durant's design was nothing short of brilliant.
A dribble handoff near the top of the key kick-started the set, which involved a streaking Lamb cutting from the right wing through the left corner. The sharpshooter slithered through an elevator screen from Steven Adams and Hasheem Thabeet, and from that point, it was a simple catch and release that tickled the twine to the delight of "Coach" KD.
"That was a great play, but he forgot to add one other player on the board,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said, via Slater. “He only had four on the board…He’s getting better. Last year he had only three.”
Durant didn't let the critique slide.
"Nah, that’s (expletive),” he said. “That was all me right there. I’m trying to work on my future.”
There's nothing wrong with planning ahead, especially when his present mastery seems to impress the rest of us a lot more than it does the soon-to-be four-time scoring champion:
If there's a jarring element to Durant's game—you know, besides packing perimeter skills into a near-seven-foot frame—it's his seemingly effortless way of producing saturated stat sheets. I'm not sure if that's something that can be taught, but the idea of KD attempting to share that gift is undoubtedly intriguing.
Of course, coaches are often only as good as the players on their roster, and one thing seems fairly certain about Durant's potential future endeavor: He won't have a player like himself at his disposal.
Those don't seem to exist outside of OKC.
"I think he’s the most unique guy I’ve seen, like Alex English, Glen Rice, Len Bias, all these guys all in one,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said of Durant, via Slater. “He does everything. You just can’t recall a guy that long who can do what he does every single night."
Landing a player cut from the same cloth might be an impossibility. Perhaps that's why all-time-great Michael Jordan embarked on a post-playing career from the executive suite as opposed to the coaching box.
If Durant has a dream about a coach's life, though, it's one worth pursuing. Brooklyn Nets front man Jason Kidd was slow out of the gate to start his coaching regime, but his mantle has quickly become littered with Coach of the Month hardware.
If nothing else, maybe the scoring savant has found a moniker worth keeping around. "Coach Kev" has a nice ring to it.
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