For many years, whenever Kevin Durant has been healthy, he has been considered either the best player in the world or in the top 3. Just last year, he went on a tear in the playoffs, specifically against the Bucks. Giannis even called him the best player.
2 rings, 2 finals MVPS with Curry and the Warriors even though defenders were leaving Durant wide open to get to Curry and that Curry deserved one of those final MVPs.
We know KD is on twitter religiously. He even liked a tweet saying the Curry needed another MVP and three-all stars to get the job done. And that Kevin Durant was better. **Uhm, Durant, you know you needed another MVP and three-All stars to get the job done.**
What if we look at Durant’s career without Curry?
4 scoring titles, 1 NBA finals appearance, 1 MVP, 7x All-Star, 5 All-NBA First Teams, all before the age of 28. But KD and the Thunder weren’t winners. They were really good, the young trio of Russ, Harden, and KD were ahead of schedule when they made the finals in 2012.
Despite the Thunder losing Harden, the Thunder were still really good when healthy, 60 wins in 2013, 59 in 2014, 55, in 2016. They were favorites to come out of the West in 2013 and 2014, forget the Lakers failed superteam. Sure in 2013, Westbrook got hurt in the playoffs, but what about 2014? They lost to the Spurs playing hero ball. Westbrook had a 35% usage rate, KD with 29.4%, and they couldn’t keep up.
We take out the championships away from Durant and we get one of the greatest scorers of all time. A near 7 footer with insane skill, but not a leader.
Kevin Durant for years complained about the Thunder not having enough ball movement with Westbrook. That the offense was too reliant on himself and Westbrook. Westbrook and Durant both had usage rates above 30%. At the end of his run with the Warriors, Durant made it clear that he felt like he wasn’t part of a group, and that he wanted to dive deeper into his bag, to go away from the motion offense since it didn’t work in the last two rounds of the playoffs.
**The Nets was his chance to have his team.** The Nets were KD’s team, not Kyrie’s. Weird for Kyrie because he also wanted his own team and not to be a Robin to a Batman. But I digress. Kyrie stated that this team didn’t need a coach, Durant implied that anyone could step up to be the coach. What this means is that they took on the leadership responsibility all to themselves. It’s why the Nets didn’t really have an offense besides give KD and Kyrie the ball and have them figure it out. So basically, OKC Thunder basketball. These are decisions Durant has made
**But as evident in this series, Durant ball doesn’t work against a good team because Durant can struggle to run an offense.** Durant multiple times, especially in Game 3, couldn’t run the offense. Bad decision making, hesitant. And this isn’t the first time KD has struggled.
Let’s go back to 2016. The Thunder are up 3-1 against the Warriors. Durant to that point has been solid, 30.8 points, 8.4 rebounds on 43% from the field.
And then we have Games 6. OKC is up 8 in the 4th quarter, but Durant goes 1 of 5, 2 crunchtime turnovers, mainly led by bad decision making. Durant goes 10-31 from the field for the entire game. And in Game 7, well Curry outplayed Durant, again. In the last 3 games, Durant averaged 32 pointson 39.5% from the field while Curry averaged 32.7 points, 7.7 assists on 47% from the field, 47% from 3. Durant has guard like skills, but he’s not necessarily a floor general. Similar to shortcomings with Kawhi, except he’s worked on that and tried to pair himself with a floor general like Kyle Lowry or the entire Spurs sytem.
Just this season, NBA executives picked Kevin Durant as the most clutch player in the NBA. Durant has hit the second most clutch shots in the playoffs since 2000 and while he has hit some amazing shots, he’s only shooting 33% from the field in those situations, considerably worse than other stars. Kevin Durant as the closer really came from his games against the Cavs which again, even Ty Lue has stated, the Cavs focused mainly on Curry. The gameplan was to double Steph every time he touched the ball.
To sit here and argue that KD is better than Steph is a wild statement considering the fact that Steph has 2 MVPs, 2 finals appearances, 1 championship and 2 scoring titles without Kevin Durant.
Kevin Durant is one of the most gifted scorers in NBA history, a freak of nature. But as we’ve seen time and time again, Durant raises the floor of his team, he’s had some amazing playoff series like against the Clippers in 2014. He has 14 40+ point games in the playoffs.