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Steve Kerr explains why he ‘wasn’t at all offended’ at Kevin Durant’s criticism of the Warriors’ offense

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr wasn’t offended by Kevin Durant’s recent comments regarding the limitations of Golden State’s offensive system, as he didn’t view the comments as a criticism, as many others did. 

“I wasn’t at all offended what Kevin said because it’s basically the truth,” Kerr told The Athletic’s Anthony Slater. “You look at any system, I mean, I played the triangle with Michael Jordan. The offense ran a lot smoother all regular season and the first couple rounds of the playoffs than it did in the conference finals and Finals. It just did.

“That’s why guys like Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant are who they are. They can transcend any defense. But defenses in the playoffs, deep in the playoffs, combined with the physicality of the game — where refs can’t possibly call a foul every time — means that superstars have to take over. No system is just going to dice a Finals defense up. You have to rely on individual play. I didn’t look at (his comment) as offensive. I look at that as fact.”

Durant’s comments weren’t especially inflammatory, as he basically just suggested that Golden State’s offense is limited, and ill-suited for the postseason’s latter rounds. 

“The motion offense we run in Golden State, it only works to a certain point,” Durant said. “We can totally rely on only our system for maybe the first two rounds. Then the next two rounds we’re going to have to mix in individual play. We’ve got to throw teams off, because they’re smarter in that round of playoffs. So now I had to dive into my bag, deep, to create stuff on my own, off the dribble, isos, pick-and-rolls, more so than let the offense create my points for me.”   

Durant may have had his qualms, but the combinations of his skill set and the Warriors’s system led to some serious success for both parties. Kerr pointed to Durant’s first season in the Bay Area as the apex of Golden State’s offensive attack. 

“For us, with Kevin, I look at the ’16-17 season, his first year, as really our apex,” Kerr said. “We had great offenses every year. But that year, we had a great combination of movement and flow and systemic success combined with the brilliance of his 1-on-1 play. That was the peak of our offense functioning. That’s ideally what you want as a coach. You want a system that you can count on to get organized, get people comfortable. Then you want a couple guys who can break down a defense on their own when the offense can’t get a shot up. That’s what championship basketball is about to me.”  

Kerr wasn’t the first member of the Warriors to respond to Durant’s comments, as that honor went to Steph Curry, who cited the two titles that the team won during Durant’s three seasons with the team as proof that their offense is effective. 

“At the end of the day, we had [a lot of] talent and there was an expectation of us figuring out how to balance all that,” Curry said. “And we talked a lot about it throughout the three-year run. It wasn’t always perfect, but I think in terms of, you know, the results and what we were able to do on the floor, that kinda speaks for itself. We all wanna play iso-ball at the end of the day in some way, shape or form. But I’d rather have some championships, too.”   

Perhaps with the Nets, Durant will find an offensive system that he prefers, although it will certainly be difficult for him to recreate the success that he experienced during his short stint with the Warriors.