As two superstars on a team with championship aspirations, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving carry a lot of clout not only in the Brooklyn Nets’ locker room, but around the league. Their influence is even felt on the West Coast.
On Monday, Warriors rookie James Wiseman detailed just how much Durant and Irving are impacting him during his first NBA season.
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Wiseman Heeding Advice From Durant
Durant, who played for the Warriors from 2016-19 and won two championships with Golden State, never overlapped in the Bay Area with Wiseman, who was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 draft. But that doesn’t mean Durant isn’t able to impart some wisdom on the 20-year-old from Nashville.
“I talk to KD every day,” Wiseman said, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “We talk about the system, like how he was able to fit into the system here. He just gives me a lot of advice.”
Wiseman, who played collegiately at Memphis, said he and Durant go back a few years.
“I’ve been knowing KD since high school,” Wiseman said. “We studied film and stuff and I think we had an ‘Overtime’ video where it was me and this other player, Kofi Cockburn from Illinois, and we just sat down and he was watching our film from high school and telling us what we need to work and how to get to the league and stuff like that.”
James Wiseman said he talks regularly to Kevin Durant: "We talk about the system, how he was able to fit into the system here." Also mentioned some useful advice from Kyrie Irving. Full soundbite here. pic.twitter.com/eEd2EDiBSK
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 6, 2021
Wiseman, a 7-foot center, is averaging 11.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 36 games (24 starts) this season.
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Irving Having an Influence on Wiseman, Too
When asked about any advice he’s received from opposing veterans this season, Durant’s name actually wasn’t the first that Wiseman brought up during his press conference Monday. It was Irving.
“Kyrie Irving just told me in order to separate myself from my class I have to have the effort,” Wiseman said. “And just keep putting in the work. Just keep putting in more minutes and more hours into my craft. Just work hard everyday.”
None of that is groundbreaking, but for an up-and-coming rookie with high expectations, those types of pearls of wisdom can really resonate when they’re coming from bona-fide superstars like Irving and Durant.
Durant was posting MVP-caliber numbers earlier this season — 29.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 19 games — before a hamstring injury disrupted his momentum; the 11-time All-Star has missed 23 straight games, though he appears to be nearing a return.
Irving, meanwhile, was left to shoulder the load on Monday night against the Knicks after James Harden left the game early due to a hamstring injury. Irving didn’t disappoint, going off for 40 points and seven assists to lead Brooklyn to a 114-112 win.
“It’s the regular season, so we do the best we can in finding some motivation to play every game at a high level,” Irving said, via SNY. “And in order to do that, not only do you have to earn the other team’s respect, but you’ve got to go take it as well.”
"So much weird stuff happens at the end of NBA games"
Kyrie Irving discusses the Nets pulling out gritty victories like tonight vs. the Knicks pic.twitter.com/2MI567khQw
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) April 6, 2021