Kevin Durant Is Not The Villain


Let’s start from the beginning. The 2007 NBA Draft is underway and the Portland Trailblazers select Greg Oden number one overall with their pick. The Seattle Supersonics are up next and select freshman phenom Kevin Durant from the University of Texas with the second pick, making this arguably the teams best draft selection of all time before they even knew it. As a rookie, Durant would start in 80 games for Seattle, averaging over 20 points a game at just nineteen years old and winning the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. The next season, the franchise packed up and moved to Oklahoma City, starting their new journey as the Oklahoma City Thunder. Over the next eight years, Durant would become one of the top 10 players in the NBA. He would lead his team to the Western Conference Finals four times and the NBA Finals once in that span. Also during that stretch, Durant was the leading scorer four times and winning the NBA MVP Award in 2014. Three times between 2009 and his eventual MVP win in 2014, Durant finished second in MVP Award shares.

Which leads to the main topic, that Durant shoudn’t be labeled as a villain by anyone! Durant has proven time and time again that he is without a doubt in the top five best players in the league club. Amongst active players in the league, Durant is 3rd in win shares per 48 minutes, behind only Chris Paul and LeBron James. Since 2009, Durant has shouldered a majority of the offensive load for the Thunder not only in the regular season, but the playoffs as well. The 2009-10 playoffs began the seven-year stretch for the Thunder and in all of those years, Durant has average 28.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, over 1 block, and 1 steal per game. With that being said, what else more could Durant have possibly done to push the Thunder over the hump and into championship glory? When you look at his stats and the players that have been around him in that time frame, its hard to believe that the Thunder never won a championship. 

Durant made the decision this summer that his championship dreams weren’t going to be fulfilled while playing in a Thunder jersey and decided to join the Golden State Warriors, the team that forced and won a Game 7 against his Thunder team in the Western Conference Finals after having a 3-1 series lead. Now this is where it gets a little touchy for most fans, Durant joined a team that constantly beat him instead of staying where he was and trying to beat them with his current squad. The question I pose is, why wouldn’t you want to play with three of the best players in the league who just so happen to be on the same team? Stephen Curry, the back to back reigning MVP, has shown over the last couple seasons that he is unmistakably the greatest shooter our league has ever seen and possibly the best point guard in the league. Klay Thompson in most people’s minds is the best two-way shooting guard in the league, getting it done not only as an offensive threat, but guarding the oppositions best player night in and night out. Last but not least we have Draymond Green. Green became the first player in NBA history to total 1000 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists, 100 steals and 100 blocks in a single season. He’s considered by many as the teams heart and soul, alway giving them the push they need to overcome any obstacle they may face.

To be a villain, you must first do something evil that leads you to acquire that title. If you had the chance to join a squad with Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal on it, or continue to play on a team with great talent around you, but constantly getting a few games away from winning it all before eventually losing, which would you choose? Now I’m not saying that the big three on the Warriors are in the same realm of greatness shared by MJ, Kobe and Shaq, but the analogy is the same. If you wanna lie to yourself and everyone around you and say you’d rather keep losing to three of the greatest players in the league every season instead of taking the opportunity to play with them and win rings, you can go right ahead and do that. I’m a realist and completely understand Durant’s decision. He is now going into his 10th season as a pro and has started to enter the prime years of his career (if he hasn’t already) and will gradually decline from here. Why should he be ridiculed and forced into playing for a franchise that just doesn’t seem to have what it takes to reach that next level and waste precious years in his career to stay “loyal” to his friends on the roster? Durant wants to win and he wants to win now and his best chance at doing that will be with the Golden State Warriors. With a possible starting 5 consisting of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green, the Warriors are likely favored to win the championship this year and are a scary matchup nobody will want to face.

About Emanuel Godina

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