- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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The reigning NBA scoring champion worked out with Derrick Rose this summer in the Los Angeles where he ran into Thibodeau.
"He's all in," Durant said of Thibodeau. "He's one of those guys that, he relates to the players but he's a no-nonsense type of guy. I had a nice little talk with him for about 30 minutes leaving the workout and he really put that into perspective for me as a player. I learned a lot from talking to him. He's been around the game, he's been around so many great minds, won championships with Boston. He's had so much success with Chicago so he's a bright coach and I learned a lot."
The praise worked both ways. Like most coaches, Thibodeau has a soft spot for stars who work hard and are always looking to get better. Durant and Rose fit that category.
"I think our league is in really good shape because of guys like Kevin and Derrick Rose," Thibodeau said Wednesday. "They're special."
With Thibodeau now serving as an assistant coach for Mike Krzyzewski on the Team USA staff, he will likely get a chance to be around Durant and Rose during the summer. He's happy he got the opportunity to speak with Durant over the past few months and hopes to build on that relationship.
"This summer was happenstance," Thibodeau said. "He happened to be working in the same gym as Derrick, and I caught the tail end of his workout and it spoke volumes as to his commitment to his improvement, team readiness to play, all those things. When you have that type of commitment you can see why this team is so good. I know [Thunder coach] Scott Brooks. I coached Scott, and he's told me a lot about Kevin.
"And then Coach K said the exact same things about him. So it's special when you have a player like that. And those guys are never satisfied. They continue to work on putting everything they have into each and every day. And that's why they keep getting better each year."