Kevin Durant – The NBA’s Most Unrecognized Failure
Kevin Durant – The NBA’s Most Unrecognized Failure
It’s been five years since the extravagant talents of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant crossed paths and joined forces, revitalising a hope in the then Seattle Sonics, that greatness could be upon them in the near future. As they emerged contenders in the 2012 NBA Finals before losing four straight games and the title to Miami, it was surely only a matter of time before Kevin Durant was crowned an NBA champion right? No. Far from it, and we are still waiting.
After their catastrophic collapse recently against the Golden State Warriors, in which they had a 3-1 series lead and the chance to close the Warriors out 3 games in a row (one of them being at home), the Thunder failed yet again and the question must be raised, why after 5 years have they failed?
It can be seen as a complex question, however, it’s actually quite simple. Their two main superstars are actually the biggest detriment to the entire organisation, especially Kevin Durant. In a constant power and control struggle we have now become accustomed to seeing year after year between the two, Russell Westbrook should, and will rightly shoulder a lot of the blame. However, it’s the inabilities of Kevin Durant that has transformed into the biggest NBA failure we have seen in recent memory.
If you look around the NBA, there is no franchise that has a more talented duo than the Thunder, yet they continue to fail. Year after year, season after season, they pack their bags and go home without silverware. The biggest and most shocking problem is, it’s their two biggest stars that are the reason. This is terrible yes but there is also an issue that needs addressing. Kevin Durant continues to get a pass for his failure, his bad shots, his turnovers and his blatant choking down the stretch of colossal games with enormous meaning. In the NBA, talent wins game, and the Thunder will always have a long post season run, but when push comes to shove, they continue to come up short, revealing who they truly are.
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are equivalent to this era’s Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, but without all the success and accolades. It’s absolutely criminal that they have continually failed for over half a decade together, to even win a single championship. What’s more, they only have one Finals appearance to show for it all as well. We could easily place Russell Westbrook under the microscope and we probably should, but Kevin Durant has always been seen as the more talented and superior player. So because of this, I must place even greater weight and accountability on his shoulders. It’s true, Westbrook may be the heartbeat, but Durant is the body itself, and at 27 years of age, he needs to get the criticism he has deserved for a long time.
I said earlier it was criminal Durant has only made one Finals appearance in this run, and this is true, but what’s even worse, is the lack of media spotlight and scrutiny he has endured for this. In a lot of ways, KD has been given a pass up until this point. If his pending free agency wasn’t at hand, he probably would have slipped under the radar yet again, and not be pointed out. Not this time. I’m not going to sugar-coat it, Kevin Durant has failed, and failed miserably.
You have another top five superstar in your team, you’re an MVP, you’re a first team All-NBA player, you’re a superstar, you’re regarded as an excellent closer, and you’re still widely regarded as the 2nd best player on the planet, but even despite all this, you continue to fail. You continue to fly under the radar, hoping next year will be different. You have a chance to close out a team on three separate occasions and your fourth quarter execution, decisions, closing and leadership is painful to watch.
I don’t hate Kevin Durant, in fact, I love his game and what he represents. However what I cannot stand and what I will not accept is the fact he doesn’t receive the same scrutiny and criticism that other stars in this league endure. Some who don’t even deserve it. Steph Curry, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and of course the biggest one LeBron James. These are all players who are constantly placed under the microscope when they underperform or perhaps fail, and Kevin Durant is able to go about his game like nothing happened. He is able to walk around like he hasn’t failed with all-star teammates, like his team hasn’t been superior, like he hasn’t crumbled down the stretch, like he used his teammates enough, like he didn’t defer to Russell Westbrook time after time. This is not just unjust, but it’s unacceptable. I can’t even begin to imagine what would have happened if LeBron or Steph were in the situation Durant was just in. The NBA world would have had a complete meltdown and never forgotten what happened. It would be tattooed in fans’ brains, calling upon it whenever they need extra ammo for their debates.
There is no question Durant is a superstar in this league, but when you enter that level of greatness, you have to be held equally accountable just like everyone else in that group. If you want to be truly great, you have to endure the pressure and spotlight that is attached to it.
With his pending free agency upon us, Durant may look to change his surrounding it hopes it may bring a different outcome. What he really needs to do, is look in the mirror about what he can change about himself. With the increased competition and level of play every year, his window for success is closing quicker than he realises. With every passing season, his undeniable underachieving it outlined even further. We can no longer ignore the truth.
I’m a fan of yours Kevin, I respect you a great deal, but I cannot, and will not give you a pass.
You failed KD, and you have for some time now.