After leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016 to join a Golden State Warriors team that had won an NBA title and a league record 73 regular-season games, respectively, in the two seasons before he signed with the team, many feel as though star forward Kevin Durant took the easy route to winning his first two championships. Durant doesn't see it that way, though. During a recent appearance on JJ Redick's "The Old Man and the Three" podcast, Durant made it clear that he earned the two titles he won with Golden State in 2017 and 2018 because he gave the team his all, and played at an elite level during the Finals.
"No," Durant replied when asked if he thought he took the easy way to titles, via NBC Sports. "What does that even mean? I just never understood what that means, because I still come to work every day. I go through every rep at 100 percent speed. So, I just don't understand that.
"And I played at an elite level in the Finals in all the biggest moments. And I could understood if I didn't play well at all. But I played the best that I could play in both Finals for that team. So, I felt like I got up every day and held myself to a championship, elite-player standard and reached it pretty much 98 percent of the time in practice and games and shootarounds. So, yeah, of course, I earned that."
Durant did play at an elite level with the Warriors, and he has two rings and two Finals MVP awards to show for it. However, that doesn't change the fact that the team he joined was already a proven championship-caliber team without him, and because of that he will likely never be able to change the minds of people who feel like he took a short cut to success. The fact Durant's Thunder were up 3-1 on the Warriors in the 2016 Western Conference finals, before they blew the lead and lost the series in seven games, looked even worse for the star forward as it appeared as though he abided by the old adage "if you can't beat them, join them."
Durant can keep saying that he didn't take the easy route to titles, but at this point in time it seems like he's mostly just trying to convince himself. If he wants to truly convince the masses that he is capable of leading a team to a title, he will have to do so with the Nets in Brooklyn. Charles Barkley recently said that Durant was a "bus rider" in Golden State, and it seems like that's how many view his tenure with the team. In Brooklyn, he will have to be a bus driver if he wants to put an end to such chatter.