30 Apr

Kevin Durant wasn’t comfortable with his role in Phoenix this season, per report

The Phoenix Suns had another disappointing exit from the NBA playoffs, this time in the first round after the Minnesota Timberwolves swept them in four games. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Suns have exited the postseason short of expectations, and while that’s true of all teams who don’t win a championship, Phoenix has managed to lose spectacularly in each of their past three playoff exits.

But unlike the last two seasons, where Phoenix proved to be more dominant in the regular season, the Suns this season never really took off. Injuries certainly played a role, with Bradley Beal missing 29 games due to various ailments. But even when the team was fully healthy, the Suns only looked dominant over a couple of games at a time. All three of Phoenix’s stars, Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Beal were putting up solid numbers, but it was only good enough to finish sixth in the Western Conference. Some of that may be just an adjustment period and learning from a new coach, but The Athletic is reporting that Durant wasn’t entirely happy with how he was being used on offense this season.

“Sources briefed on the matter told The Athletic that Durant never felt comfortable with his role in Phoenix’s offense alongside Booker and Beal this season. Those sources said Durant had persistent issues with the offense, feeling that he was being relegated to the corner far too often and not having the proper designs to play to his strengths as the offense was built around pick-and-rolls.”

Durant took the most corner 3s of his career this season, totaling 68 corner 3-point attempts. That may not be a lot for guys whose job it is to sit in the corner and knock down 3s, but considering that prior to this year, K.D. averaged around 23.2 corner 3s over his career, that’s a significant rise. And while he was knocking them down at a 46% clip, which ranked in the 93rd percentile, that’s not the best use of someone of Durant’s generational talents.

But while Durant wasn’t happy with being relegated to the corner often, The Athletic also reports that those close to the Suns organization felt K.D. could’ve voiced his concerns more often with the coaching staff. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that there was some miscommunication going on. How that plays out going forward remains to be seen. We’ve already seen the Suns make a change at head coach after firing Monty Williams at the end of last season and bringing in Vogel. And while Vogel said ahead of Game 4’s loss that he has “full support” of Suns owner Mat Ishbia, The Athletic reports that Phoenix plans on taking a look at either bringing in a new coach or changing up the assistant coaches that report to Vogel.

Whatever happens in Phoenix, it’s clear that no one in the Valley of the Sun is happy with how this season played out. Despite all the talent that exists at the top of the roster, the Timberwolves exposed the lack of depth on this team. Unfortunately, due to all the money tied up between Booker, Beal, Durant and Grayson Allen, who signed an extension recently, finding quality players won’t be easy as the Suns are already well into the luxury tax for next season. It’ll be an important offseason for the Suns to prove they can build a quality contender, otherwise guys like Booker and Durant could be asking out if things don’t get better.

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