Durant Has a Warning For Top NBA Draft Prospects

Some of the best athletes play with the chip on their shoulder, and Kevin Durant is one of them. The guy remembers one slight in particular, How the NBA world reacted to his 2007 Draft Combine workout. With league executives and scouts analyzing his every step at the combine, Durant came out of the University of Texas in 2007 as a rail-thin, but highly skilled player.
The NBA Draft Combine works out the game’s best amateur prospects, testing size, speed, and skill. But it was Durant’s size or lack thereof that caught the most attention after he was the only player who failed to record a single 185 pound bench press rep during his combine workout. In fact, The Seattle Times claimed at the time that a leaked draft report ranked Durant’s
overall performance 78th out of the 80 prospects. Critics used this to reinforce the notion that Greg Oden, the eventual 2007 number 1 pick who’s now out of the league, was a superior prospect to Durant. The Seattle Supersonics, recognizing Durant’s rare skill-set and shooting ability for a 7-footer, ended up taking Durant second overall. 8 All-Star appearances and an MVP award later, it’s clear who was right.
Durant knows this, and that’s why he’s advising top NBA prospects of one thing right now, Steer clear of the NBA Draft Combine. Here’s what he told to ESPN: “Don’t go. If you’re a top-10 pick or a first-round pick or whatever, and you know you might be guaranteed, stay your ass home, work out and get better on your own time.”
To Durant, who was bothered by the weight-lifting criticism, He told to ESPN as much, saying: “I remember it like it was yesterday. All the strength coaches were laughing at me and sh*t. They were giggling with each other that I couldn’t lift 185 pounds, and I was like,’All right, keep laughing. Keep laughing.’ It was a funny thing, because I was the only one that couldn’t lift it and I was struggling to lift it. I was embarrassed at that point, but I’m like, ‘Give me a basketball, please. Give me a ball.’”
Now, perhaps learning from Durant’s 2007 experience, the top prospects usually schedule private workouts with interested teams, and skip the combine altogether. This year, big names like Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum and Malik Monk are all curving the combine. And while Durant doesn’t think the best should risk anything by attending the combine, he thinks lesser players should go to improve their own draft stock, saying:
“It’s good for guys who are trying to fight their way into the first round, fight their way into the draft.” and for what it’s worth, Durant can bench press 315 pounds now. As it turns out, size doesn’t always matter.