Kevin Durant Issues Strong Statement After Big Win in Suns Debut

Dennis Smith Jr. of the Charlotte Hornets and Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns.

Getty Dennis Smith Jr. of the Charlotte Hornets and Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns.

The Phoenix Suns made a giant splash at the trade deadline this year when they traded for Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant. They shipped out two promising young stars, Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson, but Durant will help them improve their chances of winning now.

Durant made his debut with the Suns on Wednesday night against the Charlotte Hornets. The veteran star played fairly well, but it was more of a chance to shake the rust off after dealing with an injury for a long period of time. After the game, Durant spoke about what it was like to be out there on the court again.

“It was fun. It was fun. I missed playing,” Durant said via NBA on ESPN. “This is the highest level of ball in the world, so, you know, I missed being out on the floor and going over strategy and just talking with the guys. The camaraderie, all that stuff, I missed it all. So, I’m good. I’m glad I got to get back on the floor today and try to build towards something.”

[FULL] Kevin Durant reacts to first game with the Suns | NBA on ESPNKevin Durant addresses the media following his first game as a member of the Phoenix Suns. ☑️ Subscribe to ESPN+:​​​​​ 📱Get the ESPN App:​​​​​ 🏀 Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on YouTube:​​​​​ ☑️Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube:​​​​​ ☑️Watch ESPN on YouTube TV:​​2023-03-02T04:16:07Z

Phoenix took home a 105-91 win over the Hornets, but it was Devin Booker who led the charge. Booker finished with 37 points, six rebounds, and seven assists on 15-of-26 shooting from the floor and 3-of-7 shooting from distance.

As for Durant, he put up 23 points, six rebounds, and two assists in the win, shooting 10-of-15 from the field and 2-of-4 from behind the three-point line.

Durant noted that Chris Paul and Cameron Payne have helped him get used to the Suns’ game plan on the offensive end, but on defense, he felt good.

“I thought I would be lost on a few plays, a few sets on the defensive side of the ball, but I felt like these last, what, two weeks, a week and a half of practice and being around the guys as constant communication,” Durant said. “CP [Chris Paul], Cam Payne, as the point guards, they’re doing a good job of letting me know where I need to be on a couple of sets I may not know, I may not be familiar with. But defensively, I thought I was in [a] solid position all night.”

Kevin Durant Excited to Play With Devin Booker

In addition to the comments he made after his debut with Phoenix, Durant has also spoken about his excitement to play with Booker. He said that he’s long been a fan of the Suns guard and is “looking forward to being around him.”

“I just like his work ethic,” Durant explained on his podcast, The ETCs. “I remember seeing him in college, I loved his form on his jump shot at a young age. So, I was like, I can tell he’s been working on his game. And so, just following them over the years, just seeing how quickly he developed. His IQ for the game. He understands the game. So, I like guys that can score from all areas of the floor, and being around somebody that works like that and that cares about the game like that is only going to help me. So, I’m looking forward to being around him.”

Suns Could Target John Wall Signing

While the addition of Durant is the highlight of the Suns’ season, they could still look to bolster their bench unit. According to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and TNT, after the Suns’ failed pursuit of Derrick Rose, John Wall makes sense as a fit for them.

“Phoenix, they’re still looking for another ball-handler,” Haynes said on his #thisleague UNCUT podcast with Marc Stein. “And so if the Derrick Rose situation doesn’t play out, which looks like it most likely won’t, then they have to look at other guys out there. And you look at the buyout market, the only other prominent guard that has ball-handling skills and obligations is John Wall, and we’re not hearing much on him as of right now.”

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