Kevin Durant Thinks NBA Draft Prospects Should ‘Stay Your Ass Home’ And Skip The Combine

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Kevin Durant attended the NBA Draft Combine back in 2006 and is still bitter about it. His advice to this year’s crop of draft prospects? Don’t even bother.

Durant looked back bitterly on his own Combine on Wednesday when he told reporters about his own draft experience, advising those invited to the combine in Chicago to stay home and work on their own game privately.

“Stay your ass home, work out and get better on your own time,” Durant told ESPN on Wednesday.

While players like Lonzo Ball and Malik Monk are top prospects skipping the Combine already, Durant encouraged the dozens of others scheduled to appear at the 4-day combine in Chicago to think twice about risking embarrassment for little gain, something Durant definitely knows firsthand.

Despite eventually getting picked second overall in the 2007 NBA Draft, he scored poorly in the vertical leap, agility, and three-quarter court sprint drills. He also had an embarrassing experience with the bench press.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Durant said, as he readjusted his body to get comfortable in his seat. “All the strength coaches were laughing at me and s—. They were giggling with each other that I couldn’t lift 185 pounds, and I was like, ‘All right, keep laughing. Keep laughing.’ It was a funny thing, because I was the only one that couldn’t lift it and I was struggling to lift it. I was embarrassed at that point, but I’m like, ‘Give me a basketball, please. Give me a ball.'”

Durant gave a lot of great quotes about how unimportant he feels the combine is when compared to what actually makes you good at basketball, but this next one is the best.

“I knew nobody in that draft could guard me one-on-one,” he said with the utmost confidence. “I knew that for sure. I knew that. And I knew that you don’t need to [bench-press] to lift a basketball up. And I knew that this wasn’t football, where that stuff matters. I knew as a basketball player I had a lot of skill, more skill than anybody in the draft. And I knew that if I worked as hard as I could, then that s— wouldn’t matter at the end of the day. It still doesn’t matter. I was ranked the last person in camp, drills-wise. I was the worst player, and the first player didn’t get drafted. That tells you a lot about the significance of that s—.”

Durant implies here that it’s easy to get caught up in combine abilities when compared to a sport like football, but what you bench press doesn’t matter on the court. He later said he hasn’t even tried to lift 185 pounds in the decade since. And while he understands the importance of the combine for someone on the draft bubble, he says the top picks are smart to skip the formalities of leaping and lifting in front of a bunch of scouts.

“If you’re like a top pick and you know you’re going to be a top pick, just work out,” he said. “Just work on your game, and then they’ll see you in the individual workouts; and they’ve been watching you all year, so your whole body of work is more important than just going there for a couple of days.”

The Combine wraps up this Sunday. Durant’s advice, if you’re not already in Chicago, is to not go.