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Kevin Durant rips NBA Draft Combine, supports Malik Monk and others’ decision to “stay home”

Malik Monk is one of five top NBA Draft prospects that opted out of participating in the 2017 NBA Draft Combine in Chicago this weekend. Eight-time NBA All-Star Kevin Durant made his opinion on the combine clear Thursday morning.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Kentucky vs Wichita State
Malik Monk (5) reacts after a three-point basket against the Wichita State Shockers during the second half in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament
Thomas Joseph-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 NBA Draft Combine is taking place this week, and it will be broadcast live to a national television audience without some of the draft’s top prospects, including Kentucky’s Malik Monk.

Monk, along with Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum and Dennis Smith Jr., have made a decision seemingly with the opinion that their respective resumes speak for themselves, and they do not need to be evaluated in the combine in order to become drafted in the lottery.

Opting out of the combine has become a recent trend for the elite NBA prospects, and it is a trend in which Warriors star Kevin Durant supports.

"If you're a top-10 pick or a first-round pick or whatever and you know you might be guaranteed, stay your ass home, work out and get better on your own time," Durant told prospects, via ESPN.

Durant still seemed rather salty about the entire combine process, elaborating further:

"I remember it like it was yesterday," Durant said, as he adjusted 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, 'Alright, 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 is undoubtedly one of the league’s best players. The 2014 league MVP and eight-time All-Star makes a strong case, regardless of how strong his bench press may have been a decade ago.

Monk is expected to be taken in the first round of the June 22 NBA Draft, along with another Kentucky guard, De’Aaron Fox, who many Kentucky fans will be tuning in to ESPN2 to watch at the combine this weekend.

For Fox, the combine is just part of the process.

"Ever since I was younger, I've always wanted to go to the combine, Fox said in a previous ESPN interview. “It's a part of the draft process so I've always pictured myself going. Some guys don't go but for me, I just wanted to be there."

Jonathan Givony of also reported today that this recent trend is concerning to some NBA GM’s.

My take:

The Green Room is cool and all, but it’s going to make the league look that much dumber if top recruits decline an invite to the green room, too.

I’m sure it’s convenient for NBA GM’s, coaches and scouts to have all these prospects in one place at the same time in attempts to “showcase” their talent, but what are they really going to learn that they haven’t seen already?

The combine may be effective for the college players who perhaps didn’t get the national media coverage throughout their college careers, but for Kentucky players and most players from schools in major conferences, what new conclusions are you really going to reach in just four days?

I’ve heard the argument that, “Oh, well it can definitely help some players along that still have unanswered questions in their game...” But can it really? You’re going to tell me that all those questions are going to be answered just because they attended the combine?

It probably makes the nerds and the suits feel all warm and fuzzy inside when their top draft choice appears well-spoken in his interview, or clears his medical assessment with flying colors, just so they have some sort of data quantifying an individual on paper. But the top-tier talent is going to get drafted based on their entire body of work, regardless if that includes a trip to Chicago this weekend or not.