OAKLAND, Calif. — Kevin Durant had a memorable Thursday.
He was hit with a $15,000 fine for public criticism of an official in the afternoon. Fifteen minutes after that, it was announced he was drafted by LeBron James as part of Team LeBron in the All-Star Game. And that evening, he put up a triple-double on the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“Life could be much worse,” Durant said after producing 28 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists and 3 blocks in a 126-113 victory for the Golden State Warriors. “It was definitely a fun day. I was looking forward to seeing who was going to be on the All-Star teams and looking forward to seeing what my fine was going to be. And also, most importantly, looking forward to playing tonight. I’m glad we got a W.”
Captain James drafted Durant and fellow starters Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins, along with reserves Bradley Beal, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Victor Oladipo, Kristaps Porzingis and John Wall.
Captain Stephen Curry selected starters Giannis Antetokounmpo, DeMar DeRozan, James Harden, and Joel Embiid, and reserves Damian Lillard, Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green, Kyle Lowry, Klay Thompson, Karl-Anthony Towns and Al Horford.
“Bron’s starting five is crazy,” Curry said. “… You got Bron, Kyrie, KD, AD and DeMarcus. That’s a huge lineup. I’ve got something different, a little different style.”
Durant revealed that he was the No. 1 pick, a revelation that didn’t surprise many. James had the first pick. If Durant was still on the board, Curry would have drafted his teammate second overall.
“I mean, yeah, it would have been cool to get everybody on the same team again, but we have four All-Stars,” Curry said. “I think I’m looking forward to playing against him and seeing what Team LeBron is all about. It will be a cool experience. It should be fun. … He’s embracing his new team.”
The draft lasted for about 20 minutes. Durant said he was informed of which team he was on soon after.
“Steph told me after they picked the teams,” he said.
Kevin Durant shares how he felt being picked first in the NBA All-Star Draft by LeBron James and competing against his teammates.
Durant said he never thought about using an Eli Manning tactic to force his way onto Curry’s team.
“Any team you’re on, you got great players playing with you,” Durant said. “So, I wasn’t really picky. I’m just glad I’m in the game and I’m glad we have some type of suspense leading up to it. I’m sure it will be exciting for the fans and the players as well. Steph told me, but no, I didn’t demand a trade.”
Even though Durant is a nine-time NBA All-Star, he said being the top choice among his talented peers meant much more this time.
“It’s definitely humbling,” Durant said. “You get respect from your peers. That’s all you want and I feel like I’ve been earning that respect my whole career. … I didn’t think that the All-Star game would give me that type of feeling, being picked in the All-Star game at No. 1 would give me that feeling of respect from everybody. It’s cool, it’s good to see and I’m looking forward to having a good time.”
Team LeBron has the length, but Team Curry has the shooters. Curry said he put together a power ranking list to assist him through the draft process. He said he’s ready for the challenge that will present itself on the court on Feb. 18 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“As I looked at the reserves, I just tried to find some scorers and guys that can spread the floor,” Curry said. “I’m pretty sure that [Houston Rockets coach Mike] D’Antoni will be the coach. So, that’s next-level thinking. And he can coach and play up-tempo, spread the floor and shoot a lot of 3s.”