When you think of Brooklyn Nets star forward Kevin Durant, you don’t typically think of him as an NBA center. However, that could change this season. While speaking with media members on Wednesday, Durant revealed that he expects to spend at least some time at the center spot this season while playing under new Nets coach Steve Nash.
“I think Coach is going to use me in a variety of ways, especially as a small-ball 5 and 4 sometimes,” Durant said, via ESPN. “And bringing the ball up, too, so I’ve just got to be ready for anything… Coach is just going to throw me out there and see how I respond.”
These comments from Durant aren’t especially surprising, as Nash has already stated that thanks to his versatility, he plans to use Durant at all five positions throughout the season.
“Kevin, with his length, is a matchup problem for everyone,” Nash said. “[Kyrie Irving’s] excellent off the ball. Kevin can play all five positions, and I plan to use him in all five positions. I get excited to use some of the guys on the roster: Caris [LeVert], [DeAndre Jordan], Jarrett Allen, Joe Harris.”
Nash has never served as a head coach before, but he clearly has some big plans for the Nets, and Durant specifically. Given his body type when he entered the NBA, it would have been hard to imagine Durant ever playing center at that point in time. However, small ball is all the rage in the NBA today, and in this landscape, it’s not difficult to imagine Durant being the biggest player on the floor for the Nets for extended stretches of time. Such a lineup would help the Nets get out in transition and spread the floor on the offensive end. Plus, it’s not like Durant would have to bang much with traditional, big-bodied centers; there are not many of them in the league anymore, as the style of play in today’s game has pushed more and more big men toward the perimeter.
Durant’s ability to do a number of different things on the floor is an enormous asset, especially in a league that continues to place an increased emphasis on versatility, and the Nets are clearly planning to tap into that ability. After missing the entirety of the 2019-20 season, we will likely see a rested — and motivated — Durant next season, eager to remind the masses just how good he is.