That inarguable truth makes some recent comments by their former teammate Kevin Durant all the more confounding. The Dubs’ two-time NBA Finals MVP compared Sacramento Kings shooting guard/small forward Kevin Huerter to Curry and Thompson based on his play through roughly 20 percent of the 2022-23 regular season.
The Boardroom Twitter account posted video of Durant’s comments on Wednesday, November 22.
“Kevin Huerter, right now, he’s playing like Klay, Steph,” Durant said. “If you’re not a basketball fan and locked in on the league, you gotta watch how Kevin Huerter is shooting this ball right now.”
Durant Goes Overboard With Comments on Curry, Thompson
While it is clear that Durant meant no disrespect to his former teammates and meant only to show respect to Huerter’s current shooting tear, there is an undercurrent of flippancy to his comparison considering the breadth of Curry’s and Thompson’s accomplishments in Golden State.
Through 17 games this season, Huerter is averaging 16.5 points, 3.4 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals, per Basketball Reference. While solid, those counting numbers fall well short of All-Star caliber in the modern NBA.
Durant’s praise, however, is focused more on Huerter’s shooting percentages, which are admittedly impressive. He is shooting 50 percent from the field and a scorching 49.6 percent from deep. Both of those statistics are career highs, the latter besting Huerter’s former high mark of 38.9 percent by nearly 10 percentage points.
The issue, of course, is that while Huerter has been tearing it up for a month or so, Curry and Thompson have been torching the league for a more than a decade.
Huerter’s career three-point percentage is 38.8 percent through five seasons. Thompson’s number is 41.6 percent across 12 years (two of which he did not play due to injury, so functionally 10 years), while Curry has posted a 42.8 percent mark over 14 NBA seasons.
Thompson has never produced a season with a three-point mark below 40 percent, while Curry has done so only twice — 38 percent last year and 24.5 percent in 2019-20, when he played just five games before injuring his hand and missing the remainder of the campaign.
Durant to Warriors Trade Rumors Have Been Revived Amid Nets’ Struggles
Durant’s comments on Curry and Thompson came just days after rumors of his potential trade back to Golden State were revived.
Both the Dubs and Durant’s new team, the Brooklyn Nets, have struggled mightily this season. Brooklyn (9-10) is currently in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, while the Warriors (9-10) sit in 11th and one spot out of the Western Conference Play-In Tournament.
Neither start was expected, though the defending champions struggling so mightily to win on the road is unquestionably the bigger surprise. Durant’s super team aspirations in New York have failed miserably, with controversial co-pilot Kyrie Irving likely on his way out of town at the end of the year.
Durant, however, is playing on the first of a four-year, $194 million contract and can only escape the basketball hell of his own design by forcing a trade. He tried to do so prior to the start of the year, failing in that endeavor as well.
But NBA circumstances change all the time, and Golden State may find itself more willing to deal some of its young players than it was just a few months before — especially after head coach Steve Kerr admitted to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that the franchise’s primary players understand that the decade-long dynasty has one, perhaps two, years left before it’s over.
A package of James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and significant draft considerations could be enough for the Nets to consider moving off of Durant’s massive contract as the team struggles to tread water in an increasingly competitive East.
Draymond Green may need to be a part of such deal, even if he doesn’t end up with the Nets, to make the money work. Maybe that proposition doesn’t get the job done, but it might at least get real conversations started between Golden State and Brooklyn.
The Nets need a restart, while the Warriors are looking to maximize the late-career windows of Curry, Thompson and possibly Green as they push for another title run in what remains a winnable Western Conference, even despite the Dubs’ uncharacteristically rocky start.