Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni says Warriors better with Kevin Durant, but remain ‘really good’ even without him
When Kevin Durant went down with a calf injury in Game 5 of the Western Conference semi-finals, it sparked hundreds of debates on whether or not the Golden State Warriors can beat the Houston Rockets without him. Apparently, they did, which sparked even hundreds of debates on whether or not the two-time defending champions are better without KD.
Well, head coach Mike D’Antoni, who’s Rockets lost to the Warriors in the playoffs for the second straight year, decided to give his take on the matter. In an interview with The Athletic’s Sam Amick, the veteran coach said Golden State is a better team with Durant but is still highly capable of winning championships without him.
“They play a little bit differently, but I know one thing: When Kevin went out, everybody and every player and every coach and everybody in the country … who was against them was relieved that Kevin (wasn’t there). That gives you a clue, to me, that they’re better with him when everybody says, ‘Oh, thank goodness (he’s out).’ (Laughs)
Now, does that mean they’re not (capable of winning it all without him)? Heck, they were really good (before him). They won 73 games and a championship without him one year, and they probably should’ve won two. So it doesn’t mean they can’t win and be an unbelievable team, but Kevin Durant is just a special player. And again, I think without a doubt they’re better with him. But they’re really good without him also.”
To those who are still discussing this topic up to this point, take some pointers from someone who’s actually faced the Warriors. D’Antoni’s Rockets have lost to that team with and without Durant. So he knows what he’s saying.