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The Kevin Durant Thread -- One of our Own?


Patrick Bateman

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There is a terrific modern comp for Iverson- it’s Westbrook. The Westbrook fanboys reject that talk, as a put down of Russ, but it really isn’t. Iverson, like Russ, was a terrific but flawed player. Both had incredible motors, neither ever backed down, both were willing to take over a stalled offense (for better or worse), both were always the leader. High volume scorers, mediocre shooters…they are cut from the same cloth. 

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On 4/29/2022 at 4:56 AM, statsman said:

There is a terrific modern comp for Iverson- it’s Westbrook. The Westbrook fanboys reject that talk, as a put down of Russ, but it really isn’t. Iverson, like Russ, was a terrific but flawed player. Both had incredible motors, neither ever backed down, both were willing to take over a stalled offense (for better or worse), both were always the leader. High volume scorers, mediocre shooters…they are cut from the same cloth. 

I’d much rather have AI

 

 

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Posted (edited)

huge fundamental difference in the two: AI would die if it meant winning, while Russ would block out his own teammate if it meant getting himself more stats. they couldn't be more opposite when it comes to wanting to win and being able to lead a team. 

Edited by shadow_operative
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4 hours ago, shadow_operative said:

huge fundamental difference in the two: AI would die if it meant winning, while Russ would block out his own teammate if it meant getting himself more stats. they couldn't be more opposite when it comes to wanting to win and being able to lead a team. 

There’s video of Russ screaming at a teammate to shoot it in a twenty point blowout so that he can get a triple double   It was against gsw   KD and Steph were laughing on the bench   
 

 

Back to KD, he’s our guy, but Colin cowherd made a compelling case where giannis is better than KD ever was   It hurt 

 

 

 

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Years ago, when Russ was at the top of his game, a friend who really follows the NBA and has great opinions on it shared his theory of what made Westbrook tick. Here it is-
 
It all started with Jordan. Jordan was so dominant, in play and in winning, that he became an icon that other great players aspired to emulate. Jordan was his team’s alpha, a hard alpha, and he insisted on getting the ball in key moments and taking the most important shots. 
 
Kobe was most successful in modeling his career after Jordan- dominant scorer, alpha personality and lots of winning. The notable shortcoming- his insistence that the Lakers were his team and Shaq part of his supporting cast, a stance he would not compromise on. 
 
Other players tried (and try) the Jordan model, but without other-worldly talent, it doesn’t work.
 
Russ wants to be like Jordan. He is an alpha by nature, in a way KD never has been. He wants the ball in key moments; in his heart of hearts he believes that is the best chance to win (even when teamed with KD, Paul George, James Harden). If you look at his per 32 minutes playoff stats, you see that in his career, he has taken more shots than his teammates in playoff games. 
 
Jordan has said that Russ is the modern player he respects the most. He gets what Westbrook is bringing in attitude and playing style. 
 
It doesn’t work because, in the modern game, shooting ability is more important than ever. Russ doesn’t have that. His game is flawed, but he is never changing his attitude or approach ti account for that. 

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4 hours ago, statsman said:

Years ago, when Russ was at the top of his game, a friend who really follows the NBA and has great opinions on it shared his theory of what made Westbrook tick. Here it is-
 
It all started with Jordan. Jordan was so dominant, in play and in winning, that he became an icon that other great players aspired to emulate. Jordan was his team’s alpha, a hard alpha, and he insisted on getting the ball in key moments and taking the most important shots. 
 
Kobe was most successful in modeling his career after Jordan- dominant scorer, alpha personality and lots of winning. The notable shortcoming- his insistence that the Lakers were his team and Shaq part of his supporting cast, a stance he would not compromise on. 
 
Other players tried (and try) the Jordan model, but without other-worldly talent, it doesn’t work.
 
Russ wants to be like Jordan. He is an alpha by nature, in a way KD never has been. He wants the ball in key moments; in his heart of hearts he believes that is the best chance to win (even when teamed with KD, Paul George, James Harden). If you look at his per 32 minutes playoff stats, you see that in his career, he has taken more shots than his teammates in playoff games. 
 
Jordan has said that Russ is the modern player he respects the most. He gets what Westbrook is bringing in attitude and playing style. 
 
It doesn’t work because, in the modern game, shooting ability is more important than ever. Russ doesn’t have that. His game is flawed, but he is never changing his attitude or approach ti account for that. 

Good post. The Russ now hurts his team more than helps.  Russ is about his stats, not winning.  Horrible defender, below average shooter and led the league in turnovers?  Jordan was a great defender.  Kobe as well.  

 

I like Kobe and I get where he was coming from, but early in their careers, Shaq was clearly the man and should've been.  To me, Kobe put himself ahead of Shaq when he forced that trade.

 

I'm not sure KD has that alpha mentality.  He's just absurdly talented.

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10 hours ago, closetohumping said:

Back to KD, he’s our guy, but Colin cowherd made a compelling case where giannis is better than KD ever was   It hurt 

I was wondering about that today. Giannis is just as good. It's hard to evaluate because three of Durant's best years in 2017, 2018 and 2019 were on really good teams. Last year Durant was just as good as him. This year one of them was in a shit situation all season and one of them had championship continuity.

I mean Giannis today had a nice triple double but he went 9/25, 6/11 from the FT line and had 5 turns. Difference is he's a better defender and rebounder and playing on a better team that also matches up better with BOS (also Durant just straight up didn't play well against BOS and had zero help in figuring them out).

We'll see how the series goes. For the record I think Jokic is just as good as Giannis right now and those two should share joint best player in the league for this season. 

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16 minutes ago, ztejas said:

I was wondering about that today. Giannis is just as good. It's hard to evaluate because three of Durant's best years in 2017, 2018 and 2019 were on really good teams. Last year Durant was just as good as him. This year one of them was in a shit situation all season and one of them had championship continuity.

I mean Giannis today had a nice triple double but he went 9/25, 6/11 from the FT line and had 5 turns. Difference is he's a better defender and rebounder and playing on a better team that also matches up better with BOS (also Durant just straight up didn't play well against BOS and had zero help in figuring them out).

We'll see how the series goes. For the record I think Jokic is just as good as Giannis right now and those two should share joint best player in the league for this season. 

I think KD is far more skilled.  Giannis is just a freak.  

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21 minutes ago, Make em eat Taco Bell said:

KD thinks he has a handle, not anymore, causing 3-5 TOs a game.  Give it up, have more ball movement and the Nets will do better.  KD, Harden, KI, Lebron won't ever win a title again.

Harden won’t win a title again? 

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On 4/29/2022 at 4:56 AM, statsman said:

There is a terrific modern comp for Iverson- it’s Westbrook. The Westbrook fanboys reject that talk, as a put down of Russ, but it really isn’t. Iverson, like Russ, was a terrific but flawed player. Both had incredible motors, neither ever backed down, both were willing to take over a stalled offense (for better or worse), both were always the leader. High volume scorers, mediocre shooters…they are cut from the same cloth. 

Just read this all the way.  Iverson was the undisputed leader of the 76ers
 

russ was probably more liked than KD in okc but Durant was the man.  Russ was also second fiddle to Harden and Beal respectively.  

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, closetohumping said:

russ was probably more liked than KD in okc but Durant was the man.

Are you talking about fans? If so - no. Not even close. He was only better liked after KD left. 

I mean, they didn't have it out for Russ or anything - they loved the duo. But Russ was never in KD's echelon when it came to anything, really. Remember that KD carried them to the 2 seed and then they almost made the Finals in 2014 when Russ missed like 50 games (Westbrook did come back before the playoffs and played well in the playoffs... sort of). When Durant went down in 2015 after 27 games (off the top of my head - bet that's right - yeah, I'm a weirdo) they missed the playoffs. 

Edited by ztejas
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1 minute ago, ztejas said:

Are you talking about fans? If so - no. Not even close. He was only better liked after KD left. 

I mean, they didn't have it out for Russ or anything - they loved the duo. But Russ was never in KD's echelon when it came to anything, really. Remember that KD carried them to the 2 seed and then they almost made the Finals in 2014 when Russ missed like 50 games. When Durant went down in 2015 after 27 games (off the top of my head - bet that's right - yeah, I'm a weirdo) they missed the playoffs. 

I meant the players but just a guess on my part.  The way Kendrick Perkins defends Russ over KD is part of my hypothesis.   I could be dead wrong and hope I am. Young KD was an awesome teammate but I know a lot of nba players like Russ.   A few laugh at him.  Looking at you Melo

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Just now, closetohumping said:

I meant the players but just a guess on my part.  The way Kendrick Perkins defends Russ over KD is part of my hypothesis.   I could be dead wrong and hope I am. Young KD was an awesome teammate but I know a lot of nba players like Russ.   A few laugh at him.  Looking at you Melo

Yeah I'd disagree there, too (and I'm going to expound some here with some general thoughts - not just addressing your posts). KD has given Perk shit over being a fucking bum in the latter parts of his career (not unprovoked - think it was in response to some Perk hot take about KD) - that's why Perk defends Russ over him. Every other piece of evidence would tell you Durant is better liked and he is objectively easier to play with (I mean one of them is very far towards the "difficult to play with" spectrum of every player to ever play in the NBA and the other is very far to the other end).

Just look at how stupidly easy it's been for Brooklyn to sign all of these vet-minimum FAs despite being somewhat of a shitshow outside of KD. Or Harden signing on to play with Durant again. Or how Durant going to the Warriors instantly made them an almost flawless basketball machine in the first season (obviously that ship eventually sailed and there was some friction between him and Draymond and maybe Kerr - but not before they had put together 2.5 title runs in 3 years). But, really, who gives a shit who is better liked among their teammates. A ton of MJ's teammates fucking hate the guy and he's lauded as the greatest ever. 

Don't get me (totally) wrong. I'm leaning towards being a Westbrook defender at this point as I thoroughly enjoyed his prime as a basketball player and he's become underrated. But there just isn't any comparison or revision to be had between him and Durant and there never will be in my book. Durant has both carried teams better by "himself" and been a more indispensable piece to all-star casts than Westbrook. Westbrook was getting benched at times for Eric Maynor in one of their early playoff runs (2011 I believe). All of the "Durant needed an alpha like Westbrook in OKC" takes are absolute horseshit. Durant needed another all-NBA player next to him at a complementary position just like pretty much everyone in the history of the NBA has needed to have substantial playoff success. Anyone that thinks Durant is some beta-type basketball player that needs the heat to be taken off of him to succeed should do some research on his career. Dude's a cold-blooded motherfucker on the court and always has been. 

You always get funny takes in the playoffs. Durant has a relatively bad series and gets swept as part of one of the more disastrous 44+ win teams in NBA history and suddenly we need to reexamine his place in basketball history. After he dragged their ass to the playoffs to begin with and played at an MVP level for 55 games. The irony is that all of these haters, were they to actually research his career, would realize that KD is probably better than they ever thought he was. I know his career like a book and I STILL come across stuff every now and then where I think, "holy shit this guy really was unreal".

Here is every player in NBA history to post 29/7/6 per game at 33 years or older (btw - KD 36-19, LeBron 25-31): 

954280403_kdlol.thumb.PNG.e84075c74732324126da0d26d6ebcc80.PNG

Here is every player in NBA history to post 29/7/6 per game at 30 years or older:

1057159140_kdlol2.thumb.PNG.7f3a0cc6a3352f0afde1d22d451f2360.PNG

28 or older (Westbrook's MVP season. Ho hum for KD and Bron):

793630291_kdlol3.thumb.PNG.71d35b23bfa7670a66b8d116a1d8efef.PNG

 

Yet Durant is taking a legacy hit for this season somehow. 

He'll be back.

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Posted (edited)

Good one for the KD/Giannis debate. Durant outplaying peak LeBron and scoring more than the rest of the W's starting lineup in 2018 to take a 3-0 lead (while down double-digits most of the first half... and down to the Cavs as late as 4 mins left in the 4th). 

Other thing making the debate difficult is that Giannis last year to win the title didn't go through nearly the same gauntlet that Durant did in a lot of his playoff appearances. Not only has KD had bad injury luck in his career he was going through a brutal Western Conference and LeBron was always on the other end. 2021 Bucks beating the 2011 Mavs, 2012 Spurs and Heat, 2014 Spurs, (oh right - I'm dumb - 2016 Spurs and Warriors), 2017 Cavs, 2018 Rockets is specious. We'll see what the Bucks do this year.

Another good one - down 2-1 to a 67 win Spurs team in the 2nd round. Two games later he dropped 37 on 12/24 and 12/12 from the stripe in game 6 to close it out. All this to say that I stand by Giannis being about just as good as KD ever was - but there's quite a few bullets in the chamber before claiming he's better.

Also - y'all should look at that 2016 OKC roster. Shit was pretty yikes outside of KD and Russ (and that was Russ' peak AFAIC).

 

Edited by ztejas
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Posted (edited)

In 2016, I held ztejas’ view of Durant’s position on the OKC team. Clearly, he was the best player. He had accomplished the most and he had the greatest peak ability. Even though Russ might have his moments (at the worst times) of tunnel vision, surely everyone else knew that the path to success ran through KD. 
 
Since Durant left, yes, the OKC fans fell in line behind Westbrook, who was salty about the move beyond all reason. That led, in my view, to revisionist history, where OKC fans will tell you that KD was the reason they never win it all, that Russ was the real jewel. With KD gone, we also learned that Russ is an incredibly strong locker presence, an honestly charismatic leader (in ways that Durant just isn’t). 
 
Here’s what moved me from ztejas’ position in this to closetohumping’s. 
 

https://www.basketball-reference.com/awards/awards_2016.html

The famous “unanimous” 2016 MVP vote. Check out the relative positions of Russ and KD. I was surprised to see this. I think that Russ used KD’s injury year to take KD’s space in the hierarchies (team and league). He led the league in scoring in 2015, was considered more valuable by the league in 2016, was the strongest personality in the locker and (as point) ran the offense. OKC was Russ’ team. Outside the team, we were a little slow to figure it out. KD was never going to speak out about this- he couldn’t. 
 
You hear people say, “Why didn’t KD stay and cement a legacy with the Thunder, like Dirk did with Dallas or Giannis is doing g with Milwaukee?”  Well, they were undisputed as franchise leaders. KD wasn’t. He decided to move on and and Westbrook took it as personally as Jordan would have if Pippen had left. 

Edited by statsman
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1 hour ago, statsman said:

In 2016, I held ztejas’ view of Durant’s position on the OKC team. Clearly, he was the best player. He had accomplished the most and he had the greatest peak ability. Even though Russ might have his moments (at the worst times) of tunnel vision, surely everyone else knew that the path to success ran through KD. 
 
Since Durant left, yes, the OKC fans fell in line behind Westbrook, who was salty about the move beyond all reason. That led, in my view, to revisionist history, where OKC fans will tell you that KD was the reason they never win it all, that Russ was the real jewel. With KD gone, we also learned that Russ is an incredibly strong locker presence, an honestly charismatic leader (in ways that Durant just isn’t). 
 
Here’s what moved me from ztejas’ position in this to closetohumping’s. 
 

https://www.basketball-reference.com/awards/awards_2016.html

The famous “unanimous” 2016 MVP vote. Check out the relative positions of Russ and KD. I was surprised to see this. I think that Russ used KD’s injury year to take KD’s space in the hierarchies (team and league). He led the league in scoring in 2015, was considered more valuable by the league in 2016, was the strongest personality in the locker and (as point) ran the offense. OKC was Russ’ team. Outside the team, we were a little slow to figure it out. KD was never going to speak out about this- he couldn’t. 
 
You hear people say, “Why didn’t KD stay and cement a legacy with the Thunder, like Dirk did with Dallas or Giannis is doing g with Milwaukee?”  Well, they were undisputed as franchise leaders. KD wasn’t. He decided to move on and and Westbrook took it as personally as Jordan would have if Pippen had left. 

I agree with a lot of this and frankly, I think KD harbored similar feelings as a factor in leaving Golden State too.  (it was always going to Curry's team no matter what he did -- he was the Alex Rodriguez to Derek Jeter of the Warriors in a way...)

I don't think Giannis will ever match the skill of Durant offensively, but Giannis is definitely impressive with his defensive ability.  He's already won DPOY and five Defensive All-NBA awards, and 2 MVPs, and still might have a fair amount of additional years in his prime.  (Durant has never finished on an All-Defensive Team once and even LeBron has only done it about 6 times I think during his prime)  Kobe I think did it nine times, although sometimes these awards have some reputation bias.

I think Jokic is likely the best player in the NBA in one sense, but without a championship, I have to give it to Giannis right now.  I thought it was Durant after last year right after the Bucks/Nets, I thought he was magnificent in that series.   

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1 hour ago, statsman said:

In 2016, I held ztejas’ view of Durant’s position on the OKC team. Clearly, he was the best player. He had accomplished the most and he had the greatest peak ability. Even though Russ might have his moments (at the worst times) of tunnel vision, surely everyone else knew that the path to success ran through KD. 
 
Since Durant left, yes, the OKC fans fell in line behind Westbrook, who was salty about the move beyond all reason. That led, in my view, to revisionist history, where OKC fans will tell you that KD was the reason they never win it all, that Russ was the real jewel. With KD gone, we also learned that Russ is an incredibly strong locker presence, an honestly charismatic leader (in ways that Durant just isn’t). 
 
Here’s what moved me from ztejas’ position in this to closetohumping’s. 
 

https://www.basketball-reference.com/awards/awards_2016.html

The famous “unanimous” 2016 MVP vote. Check out the relative positions of Russ and KD. I was surprised to see this. I think that Russ used KD’s injury year to take KD’s space in the hierarchies (team and league). He led the league in scoring in 2015, was considered more valuable by the league in 2016, was the strongest personality in the locker and (as point) ran the offense. OKC was Russ’ team. Outside the team, we were a little slow to figure it out. KD was never going to speak out about this- he couldn’t. 
 
You hear people say, “Why didn’t KD stay and cement a legacy with the Thunder, like Dirk did with Dallas or Giannis is doing g with Milwaukee?”  Well, they were undisputed as franchise leaders. KD wasn’t. He decided to move on and and Westbrook took it as personally as Jordan would have if Pippen had left. 

Honestly think KD left because he felt okc was ungrateful, was sick of westbrooks shit, and wanted to play in a larger market.   Remember that article about KD choking after they lost a playoff series?   KD is the type to remember shit like that

 

back to Russ, there’s a lot of data that Russ actually makes his teammates worse.   KD, Sabonis, oladipo, George all were better after leaving Russ

 

I think KD’s series vs Boston has flipped me to Giannis being the best player but my mind can be changed

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Russ was a terrific talent. He has great leadership skills and one of the best motors the league has ever seen. I would never question his desire to win and be the best. 
He has flaws, too. As a point guard, he is a tactical thinker, not a strategic thinker. He is not a good shooter, but yet has a lot of confidence in his shot. 
All time NBA greats don’t have to be good in all facets, but they have to be able to manage their flaws, and Russ never has. 
OKC was never going to win it all with Westbrook running the team on and off the court. Could they have with KD? We’ll never know, because Presti let Westbrook take over and hoped KD wouldn’t fuss. 

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Repped because I respect the counter-arguments. However - I obviously have some issues.

2 hours ago, statsman said:

With KD gone, we also learned that Russ is an incredibly strong locker presence, an honestly charismatic leader (in ways that Durant just isn’t). 

This, first of all, is bullshit. If you actually think Durant isn't a stronger locker room presence than Westbrook - whether it's charismatic or vocal or not - then you really need to spend some time finding KD interviews and behind the scenes footage, or, better yet, watching him play basketball games (or watching some of Westbrook's games from the past few years). Durant is a walking legend both on the court and off and in any locker room he's in to a degree that Westbrook will never touch. He has four gold medals with USA basketball and two Finals MVPs. The "KD isn't a leader" narrative is fucking stupid. He isn't LeBron or Magic or Duncan - cool - what a Greek tragedy - but he demands a shit-ton of respect and absolutely makes his teammates better and has for a long time. Watch the first ~50 seconds here.

 

2 hours ago, statsman said:

https://www.basketball-reference.com/awards/awards_2016.html

The famous “unanimous” 2016 MVP vote. Check out the relative positions of Russ and KD. I was surprised to see this. I think that Russ used KD’s injury year to take KD’s space in the hierarchies (team and league). He led the league in scoring in 2015, was considered more valuable by the league in 2016, was the strongest personality in the locker and (as point) ran the offense.

I'm not sure what any of this has to do with Westbrook vs. KD. You're referencing media opinions (that led to one of the weakest MVP awards ever the following year) and a scoring title that Westbrook won when Durant missed 55 games. Westbrook shot .426 and .299 from 3 to win that scoring title. That's fucking embarrassing, selfish basketball that landed them out of the playoffs (which I already mentioned but you didn't directly address any of my points so I'll reiterate it). Westbrook in 2015 went 22-18 without KD and missed the playoffs. KD in 2014 went 24-12 without Westbrook and after Russ came back they wound up being the championship runner-up as far as I'm concerned. 

2 hours ago, statsman said:

You hear people say, “Why didn’t KD stay and cement a legacy with the Thunder, like Dirk did with Dallas or Giannis is doing g with Milwaukee?”  Well, they were undisputed as franchise leaders. KD wasn’t.

1 hour ago, UTDD said:

I agree with a lot of this and frankly, I think KD harbored similar feelings as a factor in leaving Golden State too.  (it was always going to Curry's team no matter what he did -- he was the Alex Rodriguez to Derek Jeter of the Warriors in a way...)

Durant left OKC because the front office repeatedly failed him and because he was tired of Westbrook's bullshit. If "Westbrook's bullshit" includes Russ thinking he was the alpha or the better player then okay. That's really neither here nor there. Durant not feeling like he was the "franchise leader" had extremely little if nothing to do with it. He was also living half the year in a fucking shithole compared to the premier destinations in the NBA. @UTDD you are correct on the leaving GS assertion.

None of this is that complicated. I honestly don't understand some of y'all's insistence on making it complicated. All of it is well documented. I can do this all day. We can keep going until you agree with me and you can fact check me on any of this. 

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, statsman said:

because Presti let Westbrook take over and hoped KD wouldn’t fuss. 

Again - no - what are you talking about. Presti is/was the GM. He had nothing to do with that team other than roster construction. He chose to trade Harden instead of amnestying Perkins and then repeatedly failed to surround Russ and KD with shooters. Put JR Smith on that 2016 OKC team instead of Dion Waiters and they beat GS in 5 games. 

But this is fun. I'm having fun and I like you @statsman. This is like stump-the-Schwab Kevin Durant edition. 

Edited by ztejas
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2 minutes ago, ztejas said:

Repped because I respect the counter-arguments. However - I obviously have some issues.

This, first of all, is bullshit. If you actually think Durant isn't a stronger locker room presence than Westbrook - whether it's charismatic or vocal or not - then you really need to spend some time finding KD interviews and behind the scenes footage, or, better yet, watching him play basketball games (or watching some of Westbrook's games from the past few years). Durant is a walking legend both on the court and off and in any locker room he's in to a degree that Westbrook will never touch. He has four gold medals with USA basketball and two Finals MVPs. The "KD isn't a leader" narrative is fucking stupid. He isn't LeBron or Magic or Duncan - cool - what a Greek tragedy - but he demands a shit-ton of respect and absolutely makes his teammates better and has for a long time. Watch the first ~50 seconds here.

 

I'm not sure what any of this has to do with Westbrook vs. KD. You're referencing media opinions (that led to one of the weakest MVP awards ever the following year) and a scoring title that Westbrook won when Durant missed 55 games. Westbrook shot .426 and .299 from 3 to win that scoring title. That's fucking embarrassing, selfish basketball that landed them out of the playoffs (which I already mentioned but you didn't directly address any of my points so I'll reiterate it). Westbrook in 2015 went 22-18 without KD and missed the playoffs. KD in 2014 went 24-12 without Westbrook and after Russ came back they wound up being the championship runner-up as far as I'm concerned. 

Durant left OKC because the front office repeatedly failed him and because he was tired of Westbrook's bullshit. If "Westbrook's bullshit" includes Russ thinking he was the alpha or the better player then okay. That's really neither here nor there. Durant not feeling like he was the "franchise leader" had extremely little if nothing to do with it. He was also living half the year in a fucking shithole compared to the premier destinations in the NBA. @UTDD you are correct on the leaving GS assertion.

None of this is that complicated. I honestly don't understand some of y'all's insistence on making it complicated. All of it is well documented. I can do this all day. We can keep going until you agree with me and you can fact check me on any of this. 

KD made a lot of scrubs in Brooklyn and OKC look better than they were imo.  

 

23 minutes ago, statsman said:

Russ was a terrific talent. He has great leadership skills and one of the best motors the league has ever seen. I would never question his desire to win and be the best. 
He has flaws, too. As a point guard, he is a tactical thinker, not a strategic thinker. He is not a good shooter, but yet has a lot of confidence in his shot. 
All time NBA greats don’t have to be good in all facets, but they have to be able to manage their flaws, and Russ never has. 
OKC was never going to win it all with Westbrook running the team on and off the court. Could they have with KD? We’ll never know, because Presti let Westbrook take over and hoped KD wouldn’t fuss. 

Russ is a gifted athlete, high intensity but he was never as good as he thought he was and put himself before the team.  During his triple double run, it was documented that he was also the worst defensive point guard at a certain point.

 

KD or Russ for Presti?  I think if KD had walked into his office and said "it's either Russ or me" Presti would've picked him.  KD's just not that kind of guy.  To me his mindset is "I shouldn't have to ask you this.  Now, I'm gonna leave and you're gonna feel my loss."  That's how KD thinks.  You think if KD went to Bob Meyers and said "trade Draymond and I'll sign a ten year deal" he wouldn't have traded Draymond?  KD just has a different way of communicating.

 

KD vs Steph.  I don't think anybody will remember this or even noticed, but when they were closing out the Cavs during KD's second finals MVP run, there was a moment where Steph inbounded the ball to KD and looked pretty unhappy about it, in the moment.  I know Steph comes off as a great teammate, etc, but everyone has an ego.

 

 

Kendrick Perkins -not sure why he's on tv if I'm being honest.  He's horrible. 

 

 

I'm also curious why he and Lebron went from BFFs to where KD seemingly can't stand him.  

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Honestly think KD left because he felt okc was ungrateful, was sick of westbrooks shit, and wanted to play in a larger market.   Remember that article about KD choking after they lost a playoff series?   KD is the type to remember shit like that
 
back to Russ, there’s a lot of data that Russ actually makes his teammates worse.   KD, Sabonis, oladipo, George all were better after leaving Russ
 
I think KD’s series vs Boston has flipped me to Giannis being the best player but my mind can be changed

KD left OKC because he knew his legacy was going to be dependent upon winning a title and he chose the easiest path towards that end.
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1 minute ago, closetohumping said:

I'm also curious why he and Lebron went from BFFs to where KD seemingly can't stand him.  

What are you referring to here? I feel like he and LeBron still adore each other. In my dreams they replace Chuck and Shaq on TNT but they both probably have too much money unfortunately. 

1 minute ago, Hate said:


KD left OKC because he knew his legacy was going to be dependent upon winning a title and he chose the easiest path towards that end.

Considering Season 3 GIF by Portlandia

It's more nuanced than that. He upgraded living situation considerably and wanted to play in basketball nirvana and he got it. Winning a title was a big part of it but not the whole picture. 

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3 minutes ago, ztejas said:

What are you referring to here? I feel like he and LeBron still adore each other. In my dreams they replace Chuck and Shaq on TNT but they both probably have too much money unfortunately. 

Considering Season 3 GIF by Portlandia

It's more nuanced than that. He upgraded living situation considerably and wanted to play in basketball nirvana and he got it. Winning a title was a big part of it but not the whole picture. 

Hmmm, I always thought there was tension between the two, maybe not . I know they used to hang out in the off season together often.

 

 

I think it is nuanced.  I believe KD wanted to be in a larger market as well.  Want to rub elbows with SV capitalists or oil guys from OKC?

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I actually agree with most of what ztejas and closetohumping post. I especially agree with the point that KD isn’t the guy to make demands. If a GM asks, he’ll answer, but he’s not going to actively affect another player’s career. 
I think Presti mistook that…even after KD spent a year not commenting on whether he would re-sign with OKC, which should have been a pretty clear message that something was wrong. 
 
I do believe that KD liked Russ and valued their friendship, and was genuinely hurt when Westbrook decided to beef (which negatively affected his Thunder legacy). 
 
KD is not the guy to hold onto a beef, though. He and Draymond made up, in the most contrived manner ever (they agreed to blame Kerr, which Kerr was probably ok with even though it made little sense). 

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You don’t have to over think it. Here is why he left-

 https://www.theplayerstribune.com/articles/kevin-durant-nba-free-agency-announcement/amp

What he doesn’t say in there is that the better form of basketball he wants to play couldn’t be played in OKC, because…Russ, roster, etc. 

“Hate” would probably have a different take on Durant if he had signed with SA (one of his finalists) and helped them win 2-3 more finals. 

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7 minutes ago, closetohumping said:

Hmmm, I always thought there was tension between the two, maybe not . I know they used to hang out in the off season together often.

Nah I think they have crazy respect for each other. I think LBJ would be quicker to admit that KD is his main contemporary rather than Steph. 

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4 minutes ago, ztejas said:

Nah I think they have crazy respect for each other. I think LBJ would be quicker to admit that KD is his main contemporary rather than Steph. 

 

9 minutes ago, statsman said:

I actually agree with most of what ztejas and closetohumping post. I especially agree with the point that KD isn’t the guy to make demands. If a GM asks, he’ll answer, but he’s not going to actively affect another player’s career. 
I think Presti mistook that…even after KD spent a year not commenting on whether he would re-sign with OKC, which should have been a pretty clear message that something was wrong. 
 
I do believe that KD liked Russ and valued their friendship, and was genuinely hurt when Westbrook decided to beef (which negatively affected his Thunder legacy). 
 
KD is not the guy to hold onto a beef, though. He and Draymond made up, in the most contrived manner ever (they agreed to blame Kerr, which Kerr was probably ok with even though it made little sense). 

I'm not sure how Russ/KD are now.  Haven't read or seen anything recently, but I think the first couple of years it was tough.  Playing with Russ, when you're a talent like KD, had to be maddening.  

 

KD is a proud guy.  If you're not getting him, he'll just leave.  LBJ to me is more practical.  He'll make the moves and have the conversations.  KD isn't wired that way, imo.

4 minutes ago, ztejas said:

Nah I think they have crazy respect for each other. I think LBJ would be quicker to admit that KD is his main contemporary rather than Steph. 

Lebron definitely has picked him first when available when he was a captain for the all star team.

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7 minutes ago, statsman said:

You don’t have to over think it. Here is why he left-

 https://www.theplayerstribune.com/articles/kevin-durant-nba-free-agency-announcement/amp

What he doesn’t say in there is that the better form of basketball he wants to play couldn’t be played in OKC, because…Russ, roster, etc. 

Which is why it's weird that he agreed to partner with Kyrie (and then trade for Harden) to go right back to stagnant iso ball.

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1 minute ago, aggie08 said:

Which is why it's weird that he agreed to partner with Kyrie (and then trade for Harden) to go right back to stagnant iso ball.

You’re a GS fan. You “get” why the system works, that it’s the (forgive me) synergy of scheme and talent and attitudes. KD might have a different view of what’s optimal for today’s game. He might be content with any scheme superior to 2016 OKC’s. Harden is a buddy who played well in D’Antoni’s system; Kyrie is a buddy who had a lot of success. That might have been enough. 

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13 minutes ago, statsman said:

You’re a GS fan.

He's also an aggy. You left that out. 

Jk aggie you know I like your perspective. 

15 minutes ago, statsman said:

KD might have a different view of what’s optimal for today’s game. He might be content with any scheme superior to 2016 OKC’s. Harden is a buddy who played well in D’Antoni’s system; Kyrie is a buddy who had a lot of success. That might have been enough. 

Again - this isn't complicated. I don't understand all of the random speculation. Durant went to GS - collected his trophies - signed the room tab then went to NY to play with Kyrie. He wanted to build his own thing and play with his best buddy. I called it on this site way before it happened granted I thought they'd go to the Knicks. The Harden trade was the fuck up. Maybe KD was too nice and welcoming to let that fat sack of shit leach onto what they had working in BKN. Idk. 

I swear y'all post like you don't have a resident expert on all of this shit right here. What do you want to know?

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On 5/1/2022 at 10:04 AM, closetohumping said:

There’s video of Russ screaming at a teammate to shoot it in a twenty point blowout so that he can get a triple double   It was against gsw   KD and Steph were laughing on the bench   
 

 

Back to KD, he’s our guy, but Colin cowherd made a compelling case where giannis is better than KD ever was   It hurt 

 

 

 

Giannis will get there imo (I think he finishes a top 10 guy) but KD is currently a top 15 player ever and the best scoring forward ever to play. Giannis has some work left to do.

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37 minutes ago, statsman said:

You don’t have to over think it. Here is why he left-

 https://www.theplayerstribune.com/articles/kevin-durant-nba-free-agency-announcement/amp

What he doesn’t say in there is that the better form of basketball he wants to play couldn’t be played in OKC, because…Russ, roster, etc. 

“Hate” would probably have a different take on Durant if he had signed with SA (one of his finalists) and helped them win 2-3 more finals. 

My take is based solely on the fact that he left to go to the defending champion that had just completed the greatest regular season in NBA history, had two in their prime superstars, and had just knocked him out of the playoffs after he had a 3-1 series lead on them.

Would I like KD more if he had joined the Spurs and helped lead them to a couple of titles?  Yes, of course.  Would I respect him more if he had done that?  Maybe a little, but he would have been joining Kawhi and Duncan's team and would not have been the leader of the team.

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Wait…I had it right. In 2016, GS were the defending champs that had just completed the greatest regular season in NBA history, knocking out KD and OKC in the WCF after being down 3-1. GS went on to lose in the Finals to Cleveland and KD joined GS in the off season.

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21 minutes ago, Hate said:

Wait…I had it right. In 2016, GS were the defending champs that had just completed the greatest regular season in NBA history, knocking out KD and OKC in the WCF after being down 3-1. GS went on to lose in the Finals to Cleveland and KD joined GS in the off season.

They were no longer the defending champion when kd joined. They were the deposed former champions.

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Correct. But they were the defending champs in 2016 and had the greatest regular season in NBA history before being knocked off the throne in the Finals.

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It's a dumb thing to argue over but you are taking the dumber side. The warriors were not the defending champs when kd joined. There are no alternative facts. They just weren't.

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42 minutes ago, Hate said:

Correct. But they were the defending champs in 2016 and had the greatest regular season in NBA history before being knocked off the throne in the Finals.

They got a gifted 2015 run where they avoided the Spurs, Clippers and Thunder (who missed the playoffs entirely) and then Kyrie and Love both got hurt during the playoffs and LeBron still took them to 6 games. People are so fucking annoying with playing up how good the Warriors were before KD got there. The Warriors tripped over their dicks to a title in 2015 then blew a 3-1 lead in 2016 (and shouldn't have even made the Finals) and everyone acts like KD joined the '96 Bulls and was off-ball of MJ. 

By the way - the 73 win shit gets constantly repeated by dumbass 15 year olds yet I strangely never hear anything about Durant sending a 67 win Spurs team packing featuring a close to the height of his powers Kawhi Leonard. I'm a Spurs fan just like you but Durant fucked Kawhi's shit up when it mattered in that series and sent Timmy to retirement. Unfortunately that doesn't advance the "KD is a bitch" narrative though. 

Oh and then everyone talked shit and said if KD didn't win multiple titles with GS he would be a failure and a joke and underachiever and then he didn't do anything but come within an Achilles injury from being the 3rd player in NBA history to win 3 straight FMVPs. 

 

So tired of these stupid. Fucking. Narratives. Call him a bitch or whatever because he joined a great team but don't act like GS didn't need him to whip Bron's ass twice. 

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37 minutes ago, Llogg said:

It's a dumb thing to argue over but you are taking the dumber side. The warriors were not the defending champs when kd joined. There are no alternative facts. They just weren't.

They were the People's Champion!!

 

 

 

The Rock Wrestling GIF by WWE

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It's a dumb thing to argue over but you are taking the dumber side. The warriors were not the defending champs when kd joined. There are no alternative facts. They just weren't.

I never said they were. I said they were the defending champs when he lost to them after ugh up 3-1 in the WCF.
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They got a gifted 2015 run where they avoided the Spurs, Clippers and Thunder (who missed the playoffs entirely) and then Kyrie and Love both got hurt during the playoffs and LeBron still took them to 6 games. People are so fucking annoying with playing up how good the Warriors were before KD got there. The Warriors tripped over their dicks to a title in 2015 then blew a 3-1 lead in 2016 (and shouldn't have even made the Finals) and everyone acts like KD joined the '96 Bulls and was off-ball of MJ. 
By the way - the 73 win shit gets constantly repeated by dumbass 15 year olds yet I strangely never hear anything about Durant sending a 67 win Spurs team packing featuring a close to the height of his powers Kawhi Leonard. I'm a Spurs fan just like you but Durant fucked Kawhi's shit up when it mattered in that series and sent Timmy to retirement. Unfortunately that doesn't advance the "KD is a bitch" narrative though. 
Oh and then everyone talked shit and said if KD didn't win multiple titles with GS he would be a failure and a joke and underachiever and then he didn't do anything but come within an Achilles injury from being the 3rd player in NBA history to win 3 straight FMVPs. 
 
So tired of these stupid. Fucking. Narratives. Call him a bitch or whatever because he joined a great team but don't act like GS didn't need him to whip Bron's ass twice. 

Well, let’s review. Durant lost to the Warriors after being up 3-1 in the WCF. The same Warriors you posit lucked into a title because of injuries. He then joined the team he couldn’t beat. You can spin it any way you want, but that happened. And Kawhi was still a couple of years away from the height of his powers. You also conveniently leave off the fact that OKC also had Harden.
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1 hour ago, Hate said:


Well, let’s review. Durant lost to the Warriors after being up 3-1 in the WCF. The same Warriors you posit lucked into a title because of injuries. He then joined the team he couldn’t beat. You can spin it any way you want, but that happened. And Kawhi was still a couple of years away from the height of his powers. You also conveniently leave off the fact that OKC also had Harden.

What Durant did would be equal to Jordan joining the Pistons when he could not won it all. Lebron going to Boston. 

Yes, downplaying the Warriors before KD just to prop up KD is just silly. They went to 2 straight Finals and won 73 games in 2016. What does that say about a KD led team if he could not beat this so called "overblown success" of a team? You know, the one he joined up with. After being up 3-1 at that. 

And if we want to play the injury/easy path card, ummmm the Warriors needed to purposely injure Kawhi in 2017 to prevent being exposed. They needed Chris Paul to be injured in 2018 to stop from losing that series and Houston to brick 27 straight 3s in game 7 while Paul was out. Are we going to downplay KD's tenure because of that?

KD then leaves GSW because he knows he could win 10 straight titles and no one would respect him. It's why he has burner social media accounts to go after people who call him out. That shit eats him up. He teams up with the same guy Lebron went to 4 straight Finals with and so far, has one single playoff series win to show for it. 

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10 hours ago, statsman said:

In 2016, I held ztejas’ view of Durant’s position on the OKC team. Clearly, he was the best player. He had accomplished the most and he had the greatest peak ability. Even though Russ might have his moments (at the worst times) of tunnel vision, surely everyone else knew that the path to success ran through KD. 
 
Since Durant left, yes, the OKC fans fell in line behind Westbrook, who was salty about the move beyond all reason. That led, in my view, to revisionist history, where OKC fans will tell you that KD was the reason they never win it all, that Russ was the real jewel. With KD gone, we also learned that Russ is an incredibly strong locker presence, an honestly charismatic leader (in ways that Durant just isn’t). 
 
Here’s what moved me from ztejas’ position in this to closetohumping’s. 
 

https://www.basketball-reference.com/awards/awards_2016.html

The famous “unanimous” 2016 MVP vote. Check out the relative positions of Russ and KD. I was surprised to see this. I think that Russ used KD’s injury year to take KD’s space in the hierarchies (team and league). He led the league in scoring in 2015, was considered more valuable by the league in 2016, was the strongest personality in the locker and (as point) ran the offense. OKC was Russ’ team. Outside the team, we were a little slow to figure it out. KD was never going to speak out about this- he couldn’t. 
 
You hear people say, “Why didn’t KD stay and cement a legacy with the Thunder, like Dirk did with Dallas or Giannis is doing g with Milwaukee?”  Well, they were undisputed as franchise leaders. KD wasn’t. He decided to move on and and Westbrook took it as personally as Jordan would have if Pippen had left. 

Russ took it personally because KD left *to no longer have to play with Russ*. beyond that, nothing else changed. Russ was the same me-above-everything-and-everyone-else player, only now he got to chase stats without that pesky top 10-ish all time player hogging the ball so much. Russ had Sabonis, Oladipo, Steven Adams, Jerami Grant, etc. and he made none of them better, and couldn't win with them either. Russ is *literally* the most selfish, stat-chasing player in NBA history, and there has never been a more talented player who you unequivocally cannot build a title team around.

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