Earlier in the postseason, questions abounded about whether the Boston Celtics were better off without Kyrie Irving on the floor than with him, and they scored the results of wins and losses as evidence. The scrutiny of Irving's championship capacity questioned his leadership. Now, this topic has found a new goal: Kevin Durant.
Durant has not played since falling with a calf strain in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets. The Warriors flooded fuel to a Game 5 victory and a ticket to the conference finals on the Houston home floor. Then, they reached the Western Conference Finals without Durant and claimed a sweep of the 4-0 series over the Portland Trail Blazers, which led some to dismiss Durant as expendable.
The argument may be fair if the narrative presents Kyrie Irving. But when it comes to Durant, a two-time NBA champion looking for his third consecutive trophy, the league's most valuable former player, the NBA All-Star multiplayer and the MVP of consecutive finals, the discussion is too simplistic (at best) and completely stupid (in the worst case).
In addition, interviews with Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Durant's teammates revealed the franchise's thoughts on the matter: the team is better with Durant because of how difficult it is to win without him. The victories without Durant, the team has described as "special" because the margin of error is dramatically reduced without him staying on the floor and others have to recover from the defense. No Durant raises the level of difficulty for everyone on the list.
Never sit around doing nothing while people trash his good name, Durant, after not talking to the media since his injury, started a long discussion with reporters on Friday about the noise that had spread in his direction.
Durant, who is making progress but is not yet authorized to work on the court, said:
It's been like that since I got here: It's the Warriors and KD & # 39; I understand that, and I felt that my colleagues and the organization know exactly what I have done here and off the field to be part of this culture. , stamp my flag in this culture and in this organization. … I know what I bring to the team, but I also know many external people who do not like to see us together, and I understand it.
With the rest of the league watching the Warriors' unimpressive regular season as a reason to raise their hopes against current reigning champions, is It is easy to see why the rest of the league disagrees with a team that has set the bar to win the championship far out of reach.
Also during his term, Durant expressed several statements as "not made", including the general idea that the team does not need it and the semantics of separating him from the team by the pronoun of choice: "they", which Durant corrected "our" . (For Durant, being absent due to an injury does not make him less part of the team).
So the facts that should be issued as reminders for those who try to bring the foolish:
- The Warriors did everything possible to recruit Durant into the team because they knew that the rest of the league was adjusting to their style of domination, which required additional pieces to maintain the win.
- Before his injury, Durant led the league in postseason scoring with 34.2 points.
- In 2017, the year he won his first ever Finals MVP award, Durant averaged 28.5 points per game in the postseason, including 89.3 percent shooting from the free throw line. He also averaged 7.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.3 blocks, 55.6 percent shooting from the field and 44.2 percent shooting from a distance of three points. His production in the postseason was slightly lower in 2018, but healthy enough to guarantee a second prize to the Finals MVP. And beyond the score of the box, Durant has repeatedly created clutch plays at the most important moments.
- So far in the postseason of 2019, Durant is averaging 34.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists, one block and 1.2 steals, shooting 51.3 percent from the field and 41.6 percent from three and making 90.1 percent of his shots of the charity band.
The Golden State Warriors need Kevin Durant, but he also needs them. And based on these comments, it is doubtful that detractors will succeed in bridging the gap between him and the team.