Kevin Durant believes Suns can find chemistry quickly

Feb 19, 2023, 2:30 PM

The Suns will have 22 games to gel with Kevin Durant should he return on Friday, Phoenix’s first game after the All-Star break.

Durant spoke with reporters at NBA All-Star Media Day on Saturday and said he believes the Suns can build chemistry quickly.

“If you’re locked in enough, it can happen pretty fast,” Durant said. “We have veteran players who know how to play the game, know different terminology. I think if we put our minds to it, it can happen quickly.”

Phoenix acquired Durant from the Brooklyn Nets ahead of the trade deadline, but he has yet to debut because of an MCL sprain.

He’s already played with several Suns players throughout his career, though, such as Chris Paul and Devin Booker on Team USA.

Durant has been on the floor for a few Suns practices at this point, and he credited Paul for pulling him aside and talking with him.

“I think his IQ for the game, I think his enthusiasm for the game, I think that goes underrated,” Durant said. “CP really loves ball. He just likes watching the game, likes analyzing, likes going through strategy and stuff. It’s been a week there now, a couple of practices, a few games, and he is always pulling me to the side and we’re just talking hoop. So I love that about him.”

The Suns have been working in some new pieces in the meantime. Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson and Dario Saric departed in trades, while newcomers T.J. Warren and Terrence Ross have gotten limited run.

Backup point guard Cam Payne is also expected to return from injury soon after the break, so head coach Monty Williams may have a full arsenal to work with for the final quarter of the season.

Durant was asked about potential depth concerns, and he responded by saying that narrative comes from people who don’t watch the Suns enough.

“Once our team gets whole, we’ll figure out where we are and see what holes need to get plugged in,” Durant said.

Numbers game

Durant said he wanted to keep wearing No. 7 as he donned in Brooklyn, but that figure is retired in Phoenix. Kevin Johnson is in the Ring of Honor, leading Durant to go back to No. 35, which he wore throughout his college and pro career before landing with the Nets in 2019.

“Kevin Johnson was such a great player that he got it up in the rafters, so the only other number I know is 35,” Durant said.

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