Kevin Durant

Suns GM oddly claims Phoenix can be first team to maximize KD's talent

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Kevin Durant boasts an incredible resume that includes an NBA MVP award and multiple NBA Finals MVP nods, but Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones believes the 35-year-old superstar is capable of even more.

While addressing local media in Phoenix on Wednesday, Jones explained how the Suns' focus moving forward will be maximizing Durant, before boldly claiming he believes they can be the first team to do so.

"A constant focus for us is to continue how to figure out and maximize Kevin Durant," Jones told reporters. "No one has done it yet. I believe we'll be the first team to do it." (h/t azcentral's Duane Rankin)

The Point Forward podcast -- which is co-hosted by Durant's former Warriors teammate Andre Iguodala -- seemed to clap back at Jones' comments with a post on X, the site formerly known as Twitter.

Jones' comments are extremely polarizing considering the heights Durant reached during his previous stops with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State well before his current tenure in the Arizona desert.

Durant led the NBA in scoring four times in five seasons from 2009-10 to 2013-14, taking home MVP honors in 2014 after averaging 32.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game for the Thunder. While Durant racked up plenty of individual success with Oklahoma City, he didn't secure an NBA championship until he joined Golden State in July 2016.

The prolific scorer famously joined a Warriors team fresh on the heels of a devastating Finals loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and quickly turned Golden State from an elite team into one of the best the league has ever seen.

Durant averaged 35.2 points per game on 55.6-percent shooting in the 2017 NBA Finals, taking home Finals MVP honors and securing the championship that eluded him for the first nine years of his professional career.

The 16-time All-Star followed that up with another dominant performance to earn Finals MVP honors for a second consecutive campaign, averaging 28.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game as the Warriors swept the Cavaliers in 2018 to secure back-to-back championships.

While Durant hasn't won another NBA title since leaving Golden State, he did record a dominant playoff run with the Brooklyn Nets in 2021, averaging 34.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game across 12 postseason appearances during the 2020-21 season.

Durant has won nearly every individual award in the NBA while also boasting the team success of contributing to multiple Larry O'Brien trophies, making Jones' comments even more puzzling considering the relative lack of success since the superstar arrived in Phoenix in 2022.

Since Durant's arrival, the Suns haven't made it out of the second round of the playoffs, most recently being swept by the Minnesota Timberwolves despite entering the 2023-24 NBA season with lofty expectations.

Given Durant's age and the incredible heights he already has reached, it's difficult to envision a scenario where Phoenix is able to unlock something that the 16-time All-Star has yet to achieve in his illustrious career.

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