Kenny Atkinson On WFAN: Kevin Durant Will Be Perfect Complement To Kyrie Irving

LISTEN: Nets HC Discusses KD and Future With Mike Francesa

Mike's On
November 01, 2019 - 6:30 pm

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson is forced to wait one season to unleash Kevin Durant. 

Listen to your team news NOW.

Durant, who signed a four-year deal with Brooklyn during the offseason, won't play this year as he recovers from a lingering Achilles injury. The Nets' star already ruled out any chance of making his debut this season, already coming to terms with the extent of the recovery process.

Atkinson joined Mike Francesa on Friday to discuss what it's like to have a "Maserati" parked in the garage and how the injury impacted the 10-time All Star. 

"Sometimes I think you want to put that Maserati in a glass case," Atkinson said. "He's great. He has a good demeanor. He's just a really nice guy. Great spirit. It's hard (for him not to play). They want to play. That's how he expresses himself. He's around the team all the time. He was in film session yesterday, talking and made some great points. I don’t want to say he's an assistant coach but we're using him. He's talking to our young guys and the presence, that's important. It makes you feel good."

Atkinson says the radical change Durant can bring to the team is already in the back of his head, but recognizes a need to "focus on this group and getting this group right."

Kyrie Irving leads the Nets with 35.3 points per game and 6.3 assists per game. It'll be quite the lethal combination when Durant does finally don "Brooklyn" across his chest. Atkinson expects the 2-time NBA Champion to return to form and thrive in the Nets' system.

"I remember when (Russell) Westbrook went down and I believe that was KD's MVP year in Oklahoma City," Atkinson said. "When he had the ball in his hands, he was James Harden. He was coming off pick and rolls, making three's, making passes.

"I just think he's going to be the perfect complement to this team and a perfect complement to Kyrie because Kyrie is a downhill guy. Kyrie shoots the heck out of it, which makes him unique but what Kevin is going to give us is that shot. Right now, if you say there's a weakness - we don't have great perimeter shooting. It's ok, but now it's how are you going to guard - I think he's improved defensively over the years. And we're going to challenge him to really defend for us."

Click the audio player above to hear Atkinson's interview in its entirety.