In 2010 when I first started getting into professional basketball I remember noticing one standout player who everyone seemed to overlook because of Lebron James. Kevin Durant came into the Pro’s lighting it up from the start. With his freakish, lengthy build and the athleticism he possesses, slowing down such a scorer caused many teams problems. In 2008 Russell Westbrook was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder, and debatably one of the greatest scoring duos of all time was formed.
As most of us know, Kevin Durant announced on the Fourth of July that he was leaving the organization who drafted him and help mold him into one of the top 3 players in the world, only behind LeBron James and the newly emerged Stephen Curry. ESPN released an article this year speaking on Kevin Durant’s downfall due to injuries that proceeded his stellar MVP season averaging (32/7/5). The piece also allowed Durant to speak on how he felt cheated because everyone overlooked him due to Stephen Curry’s emergence as not only a superstar but also arguably the best player in the league.
Every fan of the Dynamic duo was certain this would be the year Kevin and Russ achieve greatness, and that dream was only inches away when the Thunder, who were playing the best basketball in franchise history, gained a 3-1 lead on the Golden State Warriors. After 3 heart crushing breakdowns the Thunder somehow managed to lose the series and “The Decision part 2” began. Keep in mind that if the Warriors didn’t blow a 3-1 lead themselves, Kevin would probably be sitting in his luxury home that is now for sale home in Oklahoma city, or moving into a new home in Boston.
Now that Kevin has broken the hearts of over half his fanbase, comparisons between his decision and Lebron’s decision to take his talents to Miami, predictably ensued, as Durant has face LeBron comparisons his entire life. They are similar on some level but Lebron teamed up with friends Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to trump the powerhouse Celtics in the East and whoever from the Wild West. Lebron couldn’t win a ring with his team that lacked star power, so he formed his own powerhouse team. The Thunder have been a western conference powerhouse for around 5 years, and this year they seemed to have hit their peak. All the Thunder needed was a more reliable shooting guard than the streaky Dion Waiters, and that’s exactly what they acquired in the Serge Ibaka Trade, picking up defensive stud Victor Oladipo and a solid power forward in Ersan Ilyasova. The trade wasn’t enough to convince Kevin to stay in OKC, so Kevin swallowed his pride to join the star studded Warriors on the sales pitch “We might both win a few if you don’t come, but if you do we will win a lot”.
The Warriors can go down as the greatest team of all time if they can acquire a big man to back up Zaza and Draymond. In fact they just signed David West today to a one year deal, and if Kevin can gain his confidence back in full I don’t see the Warriors losing more than 10 games a year. The Warriors lack defense and a 4th quarter closer, and any Kevin Durant fan can agree with me when I say until this year, Kevin was one of the most cold blooded closers in the league.
One person that comes to mind when thinking of Kevin’s decisions is Ray Allen. Ray Allen had assumed the role of the 6th man due to Doc rivers wanting to give rondo free reign as the main ball handler, which he was not comfortable with. In 2012 after blowing a 3-2 lead to LeBron and company, Ray decided to join the team they couldn’t find a solution to beat. Ray’s decision is different from Kevin’s in the fact that Ray was a key star on the team, and Kevin was the leader and superstar of his own team. Ray’s decision ruined his relationship with Kevin Garnett and Paul Piece, but sources say Kevin and Russ remain good friends, despite his unpredictable decision. Another difference is the city of Boston didn’t resent Ray for his decision because Ray had an incentive to leave, while Kevin’s fans are distraught by the decision. It’s incredibly hard to continue to be a KD fan because every fan resented the Warriors. Now that he’s joined undoubtedly the most hated franchise in the league right now, watching my favorite superstar doesn’t seem appealing in the slightest.
Durant took the easiest and most logical path and with a powerhouse such as Golden State, KD has the chance to solidify himself as a member of the greatest team in history. So can you really blame the man for pursuing his best chance at multiple championships? Hell yeah you can, but at the same time he’s trained his entire life to be considered one of the best players in the league. He has put in the work to be allowed to choose where he lives, plays, gets paid, and now win championships at. It’s about damn time Kevin, but he certainly went about it in the worst way possible. He is continuing a precedent that has taken place in basketball for a long time, and to prove it, per sources say that Ray Allen’s representatives recently contacted GS for a possible comeback.
In Boston or OKC, Kevin easily could have built a dynasty on his own, but either option couldn’t fully guarantee multiple titles. The Thunder now have a guard that can be aggressive and score on a consistent basis and contain offensive machines like Klay Thompson or James Harden. To add, they picked up another consistent scorer and rebounder in Ersan. Without Kevin? I’m actually happy to see Russell Westbrook have his own team, a good team at the least. It allows Russ to ability to control the ball 100% of the time when he’s on the court. You can count on Russ winning the MVP next year, and for many years to come.
Now for Boston, they possess one of the only backcourts in the NBA capable of slowing down both Splash Bros. Recently adding Al Horford to their already good team, who knows how good they would have been with the only thing the Celtics lack, offense. Kevin’s signing would have made Boston a hotspot for good free agents taking paycuts to win a championship (like the Warriors, Cavs, or Heat during the big 3 era, just for comparison). Both franchises will be fine without Kevin, but with him there’s no telling how different the NBA and Free Agency would be currently. Neither has a shot at standing a chance to the unreal lineup of the Warriors, but there’s still the possibility they could get upset by the Cavs, Pacers or Clippers.
Regardless of who wins the title, Kevin has altered his history. After his second season, Kevin has failed to break 2000 points in a season besides 2014-2015 which was caused by injures and 2011-2012 when he was sharing the ball with Russ and Harden. After 9 NBA seasons Kevin has 17,566 points to be exact. After 9 NBA season Kobe Bryant had scored 14,034. When Kevin is getting 20+ shots a game hes on track to hit 20’000 points in around another season and a quarter. LeBron accomplished 20’000 points in his 10 season. The point is Durant is an incredible scorer, he will go down as one of the greats one day, but now that he has to share the ball with shoot first point guard Stephen Curry, the most underrated scorer in the league Klay Thompson, and one of the most balanced Big Men I’ve ever seen play, his legacy scoring wise will certainly take a toll.
The NBA will witness a new dynasty like never before, a team that can win anywhere from 2-4 championships and completely dominate the league off of decent defense and completely unstoppable offense. Continuing the trend of hopping onto the wagon of a championship caliber team sure is ruining basketball in some ways, but it sure will fabricate this train into a blindfolded rollercoaster.