Kevin Durant says Paul George is his favorite player

Paul George vs Kevin Durant in practice. [Nathaniel S. Butler/USAB]

Paul George vs Kevin Durant in practice. [Nathaniel S. Butler/USAB]

Not LeBron James. Not Stephen Curry. Not Carmelo Anthony. Not Kawhi Leonard.

Kevin Durant, the 2014 NBA MVP, says his favorite player in the NBA is none other than Pacers swingman Paul George.

“He’s my favorite player in the league,” he told reporters after morning shootaround. “I’ve been saying that for awhile. Just so smooth, man. He can do it all: pass, rebound, defend, shoot the J, post up, handle the ball.”

These two have similar builds — skinny and lengthy — and Durant is a few inches is taller. They both attended college, but then entered their name into the draft early and were lottery picks. They both have lucrative deals with Nike, and George is expected to soon join Durant in having a signature shoe.

George and Durant had the opportunity to know each other and hang out over the last few summers while with USA Basketball. At the end of practices, George, Durant, and James Harden would stay after to play King of the Court, where one player remains on offense, as king of the court, until somebody stops them.

This summer they were together for a month with Team USA, ultimately bringing home a gold medal.

“He’s my favorite player,” Durant repeated. “Just getting to know him over the last three years, it makes the competition even better when we play against each other. I got nothing but respect for Paul. It’s a mutual respect. We always have battles when we play against each other.”

This comes two years after Durant labeled George ‘a problem’ — in a good way, of course.

Last year, Durant’s final season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, George scored 22 and 45 points, respectively.

On the floor, Durant says the two take subtle jabs at one another.

“It’s been really quiet,” he said of the trash talk. “You can feel the energy, you can feel that we both want to win at a high level and we want to play well. But after the game, it’s just all love. I think that’s type of competition you’re starting to see more of over the last 10 years. Guys have become friends off the court from USA basketball, dating all the way back to AAU ball and college ball.”

George and Durant, who with the Golden State Warriors, will square off Monday night (10:30pm ET) for the final time this season. George, still nursing a sore left ankle, isn’t yet 100 percent. But he’ll be fired up to line up against Durant once again.

“We want the same things on the basketball court,” Durant continued (via Anthony Slater). “He’s low-maintenance. He’s a superstar, but he’s a low-maintenance guy. Doesn’t need much. Same type of attitude that I bring. Loves the game. Loves to work. So we kind of clicked.”

Watch as Durant discusses George in the video below:

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