Kevin Durant, as any NBA fan knows, is a BAAAAAD somebody. Kevin Huerter already knew it when KD gave him his ‘Welcome to the NBA’ moment.
The Hawks youngster was a key member of their playoff run this year. Huerter made some monumental plays all year long and came up big when the Hawks needed him to.
Huerter wasn’t, however, always viewed as a player capable of taking the floor during the playoffs. Scouts and coaches admired his grit and defensive acumen, but wondered whether he had the motor and athleticism to perform in crunch time.
He’s built up a solid body of work through his first 3 years and laid waste to those notions. But along the way came a few learning moments, as with every single player in NBA history.
Kevin Huerter reveals how Kevin Durant gave him his ‘Welcome to the NBA’ moment
Kevin Huerter was on JJ Redick’s podcast this past month, talking about his time in the NBA and some great moments. This ‘Welcome to the NBA’ story featuring Kevin Durant was definitely a highlight:
“My rookie year, we’re on a road trip. This was when I was coming off the bench, I was the second wing off the bench. So we get into the game, playing the Warriors at Oracle, Kevin Durant’s on the team, I get switched onto him.”
“So right away, I’m like ‘I’m guarding Kevin Durant!!’ – obviously, freaking out a little bit. So right away I’m like ‘Alright, I’m gonna get in on this guy’. Like, he can’t just baby me right now on TV.”
“So I tried to pressure him and he loses the ball and it goes out to half court. So right now I’m like ‘Hell yeah, this guy is going to pick it up and give it up, he’s gonna be good.'”
“I follow him out to the halfcourt, I’m pressuring this guy. He catches it and he looks it at the shot clock, there’s like 6 seconds left. Left hand, 3 dribbles, gets to around 18 feet, just hits me with a quick shoulder in the chest and just fades away, bangs the 2.”
“As he’s going back on defense, he’s backpedaling, he just goes ‘Welcome to the league, rook’. And so that was my first moment like ‘These guys are just unbelievable.'”
“Taurean Prince broke down at the court laughing. You can just see it in the film, he looked at me with the biggest smile on his face, cuz he was guarding him. But that was an incredible moment.”