How Steve 'Yoda' Nash helped Kevin 'Unicorn' Durant

How Steve 'Yoda' Nash helped Kevin 'Unicorn' Durant

Kevin Durant was plenty talented when he decided to join the Warriors last offseason. But the chance to for extended 1-on-1 work with two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash has helped take KD's game to the next level. 

Brief glimpses of the two working through curious drills on a sidecourt at the Warriors practice facility in Oakland tantalized media and fans alike this past season. Above all else, Durant credit's Nash for improving his balance and rhythym. 

"He's probably one of the most skilled players ever," Durant said of Nash in "Still KD: Through the Noise" -- the latest documentary-style video posted to his YouTube account. "All the little run-through pull-up stuff, the pick-and-roll stuff. He texts me after most games and we talk about stuff we could work on -- balance. 

"He's a guru out there. We call him Yoda. I got my Yoda working."

Nash knows he has his Skywalker in Durant.

"When we're working out, I don't really think about how good he is," Nash said. "I just try to plant seeds in his mind to remind him the little things that sometimes we forget about that can hopefully allow him to improve and reach his potential -- which he's already exceeded.

"When I watch him play the game, it's incredible to see how he puts in all together His size and skill set is something we've never really seen in this league. We've seen very skilled big guys before, tall guys, but not with his combination of size, skill, athleticism, agility, quickness, ability to play multiple positions, and to be as accurate as he is."

"Kids are saying he's a unicorn. I'll go with that."

Unicorn or Skywalker. Durantula or Slim Reaper. Kid Dynamite or Kevin Dominant. Call him what you want. But thanks in part to his work with Nash, you can also call him NBA champion or NBA Finals MVP.

Casspi defends his spot on Warriors, explains why he's not worried about being cut


Casspi defends his spot on Warriors, explains why he's not worried about being cut

OAKLAND -- Like much of the NBA and everyone with an interest in the Warriors, Omri Casspi has watched the emergence of Quinn Cook, who came out of the G-League and is making a strong bid to make the postseason roster.

Casspi, out since spraining his right ankle last Friday against Sacramento, happens to be at or near the top of the list of the tiny group of players that might be dropped should the Warriors decide to add Cook.

The 6-foot-9 veteran forward has heard the chatter.

“First of all, it’s you guys talking,” Casspi said, referring to media. “I don’t really feel it from the organization. At the end of the day, I’m focused on getting healthy and playing. That’s all I can control.

“I feel like the team needs me and know what I can do for the team. My focus is on getting healthy and playing.”

The Warriors have until April 11 to submit their playoff roster.

Casspi’s roster spot is in danger for three reasons.

One, he has lost confidence in his long-distance shooting, which was influential in the team’s decision to sign him to a one-year minimum contract last July.

Two, his defense has been a glaring weakness, with teams attacking him at every opportunity.

Three, he had fallen out of the rotation when the team was fully healthy and didn’t return until after succession of injuries. Casspi exceeded 10 minutes of playing time in only one of the 12 games before injuries to several teammates became a factor.

Stephen Curry’s ankle woes this season, along with Cook’s impressive play, are making a persuasive argument for adding the third-year point guard.

For now, Casspi is determined to get back on court after missing the last two games.

“With my role on this team, when I’m healthy I want to go out there and play, maybe not 100 percent healthy, but close to it,” he said. “That’s what I’m focused on, on feeling good and running up and down and being able to cut and move and be out there again with the guys.”

As Warriors inch closer to full health, Kerr provides update on Durant, Klay


As Warriors inch closer to full health, Kerr provides update on Durant, Klay

OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson all worked up sweat Wednesday, putting the Warriors ever closer to being whole again.

Only Draymond Green did not full participate in the non-contact practice session, but he’s expected back in a matter of days.

So while the Warriors are a little more than a week away from possibly having the full squad available, they’re starting to feel a little less vulnerable.

“They’re all kind of day-to-day,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Steph is closer to playing than KD and Klay.”

Curry has not played since March 8, when he tweaked his surgically repaired right ankle. He missed the last six games. Durant (rib cartilage injury) and Thompson (right thumb sprain) sustained their injuries on March 11 at Minnesota, though Durant played one more game, March 14, before receiving a diagnosis. Durant missed the last three games, Thompson the last four.

Green sustained a pelvic contusion Monday night at San Antonio, but believes he will be available this weekend, either Friday against Atlanta or Sunday against Utah.

Curry, though, is fully cleared for all activities.

“Steph looks great,” Kerr said. “He’s chomping at the bit. But we’ll see how he responds in the next couple days before we decide whether he plays or not.”

Durant loathes acknowledging pain or injuries, and his return will be dictated by his ability with withstanding the contact inevitable in the course of a game.

“I don’t expect KD to play this week,” Kerr said. “It’s not like a timetable . . . just sort of a feel thing. It’s symptomatic with him.”

Thompson seems, at this point, the furthest away from full activity.

“Klay did some stuff," Kerr said, “but not full participation.”