Losing to the Houston Rockets didn’t bring the best out of Kevin Durant. In a game that didn’t really go his way he decided to talk about how he can’t be guarded one on one, as if there’s a rule in the NBA that forces teams to use only one defender on players who are deadly with the ball.
Something changed for Kevin Durant after losing to the Miami Heat in the 2012 NBA finals. All the talk about him not having killer instinct, about being too nice. It changed him. It pushed him to improve as a player, when in all the comparisons to LeBron James he came up as second best. Training with James in the offseason, playing next to him in the Olympics. That’s all been part of his improvement, into what will become his crowning MVP moment.
That’s not all Durant is after. A championship is part of it. Stats, numbers, are part of it. That 25-point streak, now reaching 40 games after his lukewarm performance in the loss to the Houston Rockets, is something he cares about. It means nothing in the big scheme of things, but for people who care about their numbers, especially when it has something to do with surpassing Michael Jordan, be quite sure it matters to them.
Durant isn’t a bad guy or a villain. He isn’t a selfish player. He’s an extremely talented scorer, one of the greatest in the history of the NBA from what we’ve seen from him in almost seven seasons. But he has an edge now. The technical fouls are something that come with it. The entitled attitude we see from him in times, something after games and sometimes during them, is also part of his evolution as an NBA player, for better and for worse.
His comments, maybe taken a bit out of context, don’t put him in the most flattering of lights. Above all, it makes him sound frustrated and arrogant. Shooting 7-of-19 from the field didn’t stop him from scoring 28 points, but he also turned the ball over six times, which makes his six assists look a lot less impressive.
Makes no sense, but it’s probably the frustration talking. The Thunder are missing players, or resting them. The Rockets are too, but athletes usually forget about the other side. Durant got his points by simply pulling up for three pointers. You don’t want players doing that. It has nothing to do with offensive sets, it has nothing to do with team basketball. Those are not good shots. But it makes sense when you’re Durant, and in his mind, double teaming him and triple teaming him is playing dirty, or something along those lines.
Words don’t really matter, but they make headlines. And Durant doesn’t make himself out to be the most humble of individuals with comments like this. They shouldn’t be something that interferes with his quest for a championship or not – that will be determined on the court. But he has shown his cards too soon, maybe telling the world what makes him angry and frustrated as a player, letting in on a little secret on how to at least make him look bad instead of making it easy for him.