Brooklyn Nets superstar forward Kevin Durant is one of the most versatile players in the entire NBA, and his new coach plans to tap into that versatility. During a recent appearance on the "Old Man and the Three" podcast with JJ Redick and Tommy Alter, Steve Nash revealed that he plans to use Durant at every position --including point guard and center -- next season.
"Kevin, with his length, is a matchup problem for everyone," Nash said, via the New York Post. "[Kyrie Irving's] excellent off the ball. Kevin can play all five positions, and I plan to use him in all five positions. I get excited to use some of the guys on the roster: Caris [LeVert], [DeAndre Jordan], Jarrett Allen, Joe Harris."
Nash has never served as a head coach before, but he clearly has some big plans for the Nets, and Durant specifically. Given his frailty when he entered the NBA, it would have been hard to imagine Durant ever playing center at that point in time. However, small ball is all the rage in the NBA today, and in this landscape, it's not difficult to imagine Durant being the biggest player on the floor for the Nets for extended stretches of time. Such a lineup would help the Nets get out in transition and spread the floor on the offensive end. Plus, it's not like Durant would have to bang much with traditional, big-bodied centers; there are not many of them in the league anymore, as the style of play in today's game has pushed more and more big men toward the perimeter.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Durant playing point guard would allow the Nets to play big at times if needed, and it would allow Durant to exploit his size advantage over smaller defenders. Plus, Durant certainly has the handles to take opponents off of the dribble. As Nash pointed out, Brooklyn's starting point guard Kyrie Irving has the ability to play off the ball for stretches, too. In fact, this is something that he did very well for three seasons next to LeBron James in Cleveland.
This overall versatility will allow the Nets to change how they play depending on an opponent. If they need to go big and bang, they can use Durant as a guard. Or, if they need to play small and fast, Durant at center. When it comes to how Durant will be used in Brooklyn, the possibilities are pretty intriguing, especially with Nash at the helm. Durant and Nash are already extremely familiar with each other, as Nash served as a player development consultant with Golden State while Durant played for the Warriors, and they will certainly look to build upon that already established bond in Brooklyn.
"His insight for the game, his communication, how he communicates the game of basketball is definitely going to help me as a player develop and it's going to help the rest of the team," Durant said of Nash earlier this month, via ESPN. "Every time I'm in the gym with him, I was always like a sponge. I'm looking forward to this man. I always feel like I'm a student of the game. Somebody who has experienced so much and played in different eras, I'm looking forward to him teaching me some more things about it as well."
Durant's ability to do a whole bunch of different things on the floor is an enormous asset, especially in a league that continues to place an increased emphasis on versatility, and the Nets are clearly planning to tap into that ability. After missing the entirety of the 2019-20 season, we will likely see a rested -- and motivated -- Durant next season, eager to remind the masses just how good he is.