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Durant talks up Suns’ chances, is ‘upset that we couldn’t finish’ with Nets

Dan Patrick reacts to Kevin Durant’s intro press conference with the Suns, where Durant talks about his time in Brooklyn, and the former Nets Big 3’s exodus over the last 12 months.

In front of a crowd of more than 3,000 fans chanting “K-D! K-D!” Kevin Durant was officially introduced as a member of the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.

Durant has yet to take the court for Phoenix, that will come after the All-Star break when his knee has healed, but he does think he’s joined a title contender. Via Nick Friedell of ESPN:

“I think we got all the pieces to be successful,” Durant said... “We got guys that have experienced what it’s like to play in that final round. We got a champion [Suns GM James Jones] already that’s overseeing us. Monty’s a champion as a coach. So we got guys that been there and that’s half the battle, just knowing what it takes...

“I knew this would be a great place to play and a great place to continue to get better as a player. You got somebody like Devin [Booker] and Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton, guys that work. And I wanted to be part of that, so I’m excited I’m here.”

If there was a surprise in the press conference, it was the emotion with which Durant spoke about his time in Brooklyn. He thought that team had a chance, too, but Kyrie Irving chose to go another direction. He said he loved his four years there and thought they were building something.
“I was upset that we couldn’t finish,” Durant said. “I thought we had some good momentum. We were finally building a culture that we always wanted. I felt like every game we were building our chemistry, but I didn’t know what was going on with Kyrie and his situation with the organization, so I didn’t really focus on that. I only focused on what we were doing on the court, and it was a blow to our team. It just took away our identity. He was a huge, huge part to what we do.”

On paper, these Suns are the best team in the West. However, they have questions to answer on the court: Can they stay healthy? Do they have enough defense? Are players such as Deandre Ayton willing to sacrifice touches and parts of their game for the betterment of the team? It will be a challenge to bring all that together and build enough chemistry in around 20 games before the end of the season.

Durant tried not to overhype this year’s Suns because he knows the task ahead. It’s asking a lot. But the window for this team with a 37-year-old Chris Paul is this season and next, so there is pressure. Durant just didn’t appear bothered by it. At least in his first press conference as a member of the Suns.