Kerr rates Durant above Curry; both below LeBron
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr isn't playing favorites, but he also isn't shy about naming the best player on his stacked title squad.
Kerr appeared on "The Lowe Post Podcast" with Zach Lowe and ranked unanimous Finals MVP Kevin Durant - not Stephen Curry - as the second-best player in the world behind LeBron James. Third place in Kerr's mind goes to Kawhi Leonard for his two-way impact.
"There's nobody who impacts the game like Kawhi," Kerr said. "LeBron is the best player in basketball, we know that, and KD is right there with him. But in terms of just the regular season, the impact on both ends, the impact on wins ... Kawhi is a devastating two-way force and in the end that's really what wins."
Kerr was then asked by Lowe if Curry would take offense to being ranked below Durant even though the former's long been the foundation of the Warriors' success, but the crafty head coach had a clever answer.
"If I worried about it, I wouldn't say it (laughter)," Kerr said. "That's the beauty of Steph, that he doesn't take that stuff personally. Steph is one of the great players in the world, two-time MVP, incredibly dominant in terms of how he impacts the game."
The argument for Durant over Curry largely comes down to size. Curry is a good defender for his position, but Durant is a 7-footer capable of checking anybody on the court. Durant took turns guarding James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving in the NBA Finals, while Curry was hidden on less dangerous assignments whenever possible.
"You're talking about Kevin Durant at 6-foot-11 protecting the rim, and scoring 35 points a game in the Finals, and getting to the line, doing whatever he wants to do," Kerr said.
"There's a different level of impact that's actually possible for Steph and for KD. Steph is my size, he's literally exactly my size. So what he's capable of is all based on his amazing skill.
"In the playoffs especially, when you're having to protect the rim and do so many different things, there has to be a level of physicality that factors in when you're having these kind of conversations about who is the best player in the league.
"And that's why LeBron is there, that's why Kawhi is there, that's why KD is there. That combination of skill and physical sheer force."