Two weeks after Kevin Durant shocked the basketball world with his decision to sign with the Golden State Warriors, the former NBA MVP turned his focus to Team USA Basketball and next month’s Olympic Games. The U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Mike Krzyzewski joined The Jim Rome Show on Tuesday and shared his thoughts on the former Oklahoma City star’s decision to leave, touching on the perception that the move is a shortcut to an NBA title.
“People just like to pick. They pick on all kinds of stuff,” Krzyzewski said. “These guys have an opportunity to go wherever they want when they’re that good, and they should take advantage of it, just like people in normal business. You got a great offer, you’re going to go with that company. Winning the NBA championship on any team is not easy.”
Krzyzewski did say that he’s interested on how Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr will integrate Durant into a 73-win team.
“Golden State had to change their team quite a bit. To me, it will be kind of interesting, and not that they can’t but how they develop that chemistry,” Krzyzewski said. “You have really three of the greatest shooters in the world on one team in Kevin, Klay [Thompson], and Steph [Curry]. It will be interesting.
But the thing about Kevin, I think Kevin is the best scorer in the world, and because he can go in any point, he can go inside at the foul line, on the perimeter, he’s the best scorer in the world, and how they incorporate him in what they’re doing will be really interesting.”
The Duke Blue Devils head coach also weighed in on Golden State’s loss in the NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and talked about the role LeBron James had in it.
“He’s the ultimate leader. When you’re down 3-1, I mean it’s never been done. You talked about something historic,” Coach K said of James, who he’s previously coached in the Olympics. “In order for something that’s never been done to be done, you need someone extraordinary to lead the way, and that’s what LeBron did.”
Having coached James on national teams in the past, Krzyzewski talked about the parts of the Finals MVP’s game that doesn’t get enough recognition as it should.
“His voice during a ball game, he has a great leadership voice and he again is extremely intelligent. What I think a great player has to do is effect his environment, like not just play well, but effect in a positive way your environment and that’s what he did. He made everybody better,” Coach K said. “And the other thing he did, he’s one of the great defensive players. That block that he made on Andre [Iguodala], I can remember in the Olympics, he’s chasing down, were playing Greece in Beijing, and he pinned two of those in a game. He comes up with wow plays, not just passing, dunking and shooting, but defensively and because he’s a wow player. It was extraordinary.”
These Olympic Games mark Krzyzewski’s last run as Team USA’s head coach, a position he’s held since 2005. The 69-year-old says the biggest takeaway from his 75-1 record thus far is the tremendous honor that it’s been.
“The relationships that have been developed and what I’ve learned from not just the players but the people from USA Basketball from Jerry Colangelo, from playing against, competing against the international community,” Krzyzewski said. “Look I’m 69 years old. In the last 11 years, I’ve learned more about the game than I did in the previous 30 years that I was head coach. So that I’m taking away from the game, I never thought that I could learn so much more, but when your around such talented people with high standards and great motivation, you pick these things up.
“It’s been terrific, it’s been such a good thing,” Coach K said about his time as Team USA’s head coach. “I knew it would be an honor but I never knew it would be such a good thing.”