Kevin Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors in order to do one thing: Win an NBA championship. And now, he's done that one thing twice. Earlier this week, his Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals for the second straight season, sweeping them this time in four games.
Durant's play was a big reason why, especially his 43-point, 13-rebound, seven-assist performance in a nail-biting Game 3. Over the course of the four-game series, Durant averaged 28.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 7.5 assists and two blocks per game, while shooting 52.6 percent from the field, and 40 percent on deep. The numbers, and the iconic Game 3 performance earned him theaward for the second straight season.
After winning his second ring and becoming just the 11th player to win multiple Finals MVPs, Durant took some time to reflect on the accomplishment. He had a lot of things to say about the journey and what winning the title means to him, but perhaps his most interesting comment is the one below. Speaking to Michael Lee, he remarked that actually it was harder to be great on the Warriors because there's so many other good players.
"I feel like it's easy to be the best player when you don't have good players around you. I feel like it's harder to stand out when you have great players around you," Durant told Yahoo Sports. "I pride myself on standing out wherever I am. I pride myself on working hard wherever I go. And I feel like these guys embraced me and I feel like I'm a Warrior."
There has been plenty of discussion about Durant's decision to join the Warriors. It frustrated many fans, who saw it as Durant taking the easy road to a title, and upsetting the competitive balance of the league. And quotes like this won't do anything to make people more sympathetic to Durant.
You can kind of see where he's going with this, that to stand out among other Hall of Fame players is tougher than standing out among role players. And sure, that's true. But to say it's easier to be a great player on a lesser team is kind of tone deaf and missing multiple points.
For one, there was far more pressure on, say, LeBron James to carry his team as compared to Durant, who had three other All-Stars. Also, the Warriors could basically focus their entire attention on LeBron, where as the Cavaliers had to contend with guarding all sorts of great players. That leads to much more easier looks for the Warriors' stars than LeBron.
Look, it's not wrong for Durant to have gone to the Warriors. Most people in his position probably would have done the same thing. But for him to then act like it was harder than had he stayed with the Thunder or gone to another team is exactly why a lot of fans are still going to be annoyed with him.