When Rodney Dangerfield passed away, part of his soul, or at least his on-stage persona, possibly latched on to Kevin Durant, similar to how Voldemort did after trying to blast baby Harry Potter to smithereens and failed. Otherwise, it’s difficult to comprehend the constant “I get no respect” crusade Durant is on ever since joining the Golden State Warriors.
Durant, if you remember, left the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Warriors after losing to them in the playoffs. He wanted to put himself in a better position to win titles. Fair enough. He said all the right things while leaving, and later word surfaced that stunned by the backlash, Durant felt, for a while at least, like he made the wrong choice.
Two years later, he is a two-time NBA champion with two Finals MVPs. Yes, he got caught using burner accounts on Twitter and probably other social media apps and sites. He fights with children who he doesn’t agree with on the same social media platforms. But the guy should be happy. He made the big move and got what he was after.
But Durant has a chip on his shoulder. He keeps hearing he joined a stacked team. He keeps hearing LeBron James is better than him. Unlike LeBron, who stopped being a villain for leaving the Cavaliers the moment he won a championship with the Miami Heat (the hate James got from the general public was greater than the reaction to Durant; maybe it’s another thing that bugs him), Durant is still looked at as someone who took the easy way out, while claiming he’s actually doing things the hard way.
His latest annoyance is not being a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, not a serious one at least.
“You know they’re not gonna give me anything. Even if it’s on the fence, I have to be clear-cut better than everybody for me to even get a look. It’s just pure hate for me, obviously, and no appreciation for my real skill for the game. But I get it. I understand where we coming from. I understand what we have here in this building that scares everybody. But for me, I was just proud of the growth that I had in that area. I just wanted to be able to be relied on to guard anybody, whether it was helping guys at the rim, switching out onto point guards, so I just tried to do everything. I feel like I grew so much on the defensive side of the ball last year. I feel like my whole game is unlocked now when I was able to see things I can do on that side of the basketball. I’m never gonna get a look when it comes to that, especially playing here for the Warriors.”
So here’s the thing – Durant played really well and focused on defense early last season, then he really dipped, like his team, during the 2018 stretch of the season. In the playoffs, except for the Finals, he was pretty inconsistent defensively. He’s certainly an improved shot blocker but it has to do with his role on the Warriors and having to play with defensive juggernauts like Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala.
But DPOY? C’mon. Maybe Durant will be avidly campaigning through the media this season to get noticed and who knows, the way MVP and NBA award voting works, he might even get it. But he’s not even the best defensive player on his team.