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June 7, 2018

Kevin Durant

Cleveland, Ohio: Practice Day

Q. With the way LeBron James has been playing in the postseason, a lot has been said about him maybe even winning the MVP of The Finals even if his team loses. What is your perspective on that, on maybe a losing team having the MVP?
KEVIN DURANT: I really don't have one on that, actually. I'm sure LeBron --

Q. If you had to vote?
KEVIN DURANT: I'm sure LeBron wouldn't accept that. I mean, he's a winner. He's a winner. I don't look at him as a guy that would be OK with that. But I don't know. I don't even know how to answer that one.

Q. One of the things we've seen in the playoffs are fans being a little bit more bold in how they're approaching players. You had a great game last night. You had a couple of Cavs fans out by your hotel heckling you. What do you say to those fans that have maybe been crossing the line and getting in an athlete's face and some of the language that they're using when they're talking to you?
KEVIN DURANT: I don't think it's crossing a line because, I mean, whoever is screaming and heckling at grown men even after the game, I think that's just pure ignorance. That's just who they are at that point. So I get it.

Q. When those guys at your hotel last night, you asked them what did they say, was that something where you're just trying to say, hey, if you're going to say it to me, say it to my face, don't hide and stuff like that?
KEVIN DURANT: No, I just kept hearing somebody saying K.D., K.D., and I didn't hear what they said after that. I just wanted to know what they said. I wasn't going to do anything. I just wanted to hear what they were talking about.

Q. Kind of off topic, just want to get your thoughts on the one-and-done rule. The second question is your workout with Portland when you were entering the draft apparently blew their minds, but they still took Greg Oden. What do you recall about that workout with the Blazers?
KEVIN DURANT: I think the one-and-done rule should be done. I think you should give players more avenues to pursue their career as basketball players. If they want to leave school early and pursue a basketball career, why not? I think it's on them to make that decision. If it doesn't pan out, then that's on them. But if it does, I think it's great that you give them a couple outlets to do so.

My workout with Portland, I thought it could have been better. When they were saying it was a great workout, I knew it wasn't as great as they were saying. But I figured at that point they knew who they were going to draft. They just wanted to do their due diligence, I guess.

Q. You know LeBron as well as anyone. How driven do you think he is now to try to bring down this team you guys have put together? Do you think he'll go somewhere else to try to assemble a super team to bring down the Warriors?
KEVIN DURANT: I have no clue. I only know LeBron from just who he is, not an up-close, personal relationship with him. And we never talk about basketball, so I don't know.

Q. One of the big topics going on today is the importance of basketball IQ, the ability to think the game at the highest level. Obviously, that was an important deciding factor when you made your choice about where you wanted to go in free agency. How does that help at a team level in a situation like this, when you're in these high-pressure moments? What have you seen from your team this year as opposed to in years gone by?
KEVIN DURANT: I think the experience just helps. Going through it, the trial and error is only going to make you a better player. We've got a lot of guys that have a lot of experience in the NBA, especially after the playoff run last year.

Then we added Nick (Young), an 11-year veteran that's been through so much and played with some great players. Then you bring in a guy like Quinn (Cook), who is still figuring his way out in the league but understands what hard work is. So you've got different journeys for different guys, and they provide a different perspective. I think that's what makes up a great team.

Q. I was talking to Draymond Green about just how much he loves to play defense and how he continues to find ways to leave his imprint on the game. I'm curious, what is it like playing with Draymond on the defensive end -- his intensity, his expectations, his communication? Have you ever played with anybody quite like him?
KEVIN DURANT: I played with guys with that same type of intensity. But his talent and feel is different. His feel for just knowing what to do. He's two or three plays ahead.

On the defensive side of the ball, you just want somebody that you can trust and somebody that you know is going to go to war with you. It's something going into a game I don't even think about with Draymond. I just know it's going to happen with him. Just having that trust and somebody that you know is going to be there, you don't even have to worry about that side of it. You just focus on something else. So it's different when you've got to worry about if somebody is going to come to war. Draymond is just always ready.

Q. What has LeBron meant to you in your career, and what has it meant to you to be able to face him on this stage several times now?
KEVIN DURANT: What he's meant to me? I just think -- I don't know about that one. I think somebody that you can always look at and, when you're working out, strive to be better than and strive to go through the same experiences as somebody like that, looked at as one of the top five greatest players ever to play the game. Play in the same era -- that's rare to have a player like that, playing at the same time you are.

You watch his tendencies, movement. You watch just his actions on the basketball court, how he talks to his teammates. You just watch from afar and try to pick up some things, because he's a little older.

So I think in that same way I looked at Kobe and Tim Duncan and those guys who are at that elite level who have experienced more, you just try to learn from them from watching from afar. I think LeBron has been a good model when it comes to that.

Just being able to play against somebody at the highest stage, the highest level, just brings out the best in both of us. It just makes the games better.

Q. In what way is this team more locked in right now than it was last year?
KEVIN DURANT: It's different, man. I keep telling people. It's just a different vibe because we've been through a season with each other already as champions, going through a whole season. So we know exactly what we need to do in order for us to win. We wanted to do that, focus on that as much as possible. The emotions and all that stuff doesn't really matter. We just try to play a solid, focused game, and we'll figure out how to feel afterward.

It's just different. It's like I told someone earlier, I think Kanye West's first album is his best one because I didn't hear an album from him before. So the first one is always a little different. But he had some great music after that as well.

So I feel like we're in that transition from having a great first year, but figuring out different ways to be good in the second year. If that makes sense.

Q. Javale McGee called it a beautiful thing?
KEVIN DURANT: Oh, definitely. Listen to JaVale. He has all the answers.

Q. Steve Kerr talked last night about how decisive you were with the ball. Is that a conscious decision on your part going into the game, or is that more how they're defending you and the fact that Steph and Klay were both off by their standards?
KEVIN DURANT: I just know when I rush I'm not as good as I want to be. If I take my time and be patient, I can dictate and control everything. So I'd rather control everything than be reacting to someone else out there. I just try to be as patient as I can but still be strong with the basketball.

Q. Is that a tough balance to stay patient when you know that kind of the longer you do hold the ball, or anyone holds the ball for that matter, that things do bog down? Is that a tough balance to be patient and decisive at the same time?
KEVIN DURANT: No, because when we throw the ball into Draymond, we still move. We still cut. I expect the same when I get the ball, and my teammates do that. So as long as I hold the ball, if everybody keeps moving, if I don't find anything, then I can go to work.

Q. LeBron was talking about how the challenge around the league is not only to find a group of guys as skilled as the Warriors, but as intelligent as the Warriors. Is intelligence a less-appreciated aspect in the locker room? And what's it like in the Warriors locker room in terms of everybody's collective IQ?
KEVIN DURANT: I think as basketball players we should all be offended if intelligence isn't the first thing you think about when you're looking at basketball players. I compare us to musicians. I compare us to artists, to architects, to surgeons. I compare us to the highest at any field. Because what we do is hard. We're 1 percenters in the world.

So when you walk into any locker room in the NBA, I expect you to think that, Oh, these guys are intelligent at what they do. I think that's an underrated trait from somebody outside of the league, from outside of the locker rooms, because they don't realize how hard the game is sometimes.

But it's hard to find intelligence, character, unselfishness all at the same time. That's rare in any profession, I think.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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