It’s Time to Let Kevin Durant Be Great

Kevin Durant is playing the best basketball of his professional career and folks are mad about it. It’s been nearly a year since KD departed from the Oklahoma City Thunder squad and it looks like seeing him flourish in this year’s NBA Finals has reopened some wounds left by his necessary departure.

Though it appears the Warriors are on the path to winning the title, it has to be said that KD does not need to win a title in order to justify his decision to move on from OKC. What has become more and more clear is that the move wasn’t about a championship. One year ago, Durant, along with the rest of the Thunder squad nearly beat the Warriors in the West. Though there was speculation that the move was about some sort of rift between he and Russell Westbrook, he has since clarified that the move was about personal growth and development as a ball player. “The primary mandate I had for myself in making this decision was to have it based on the potential for my growth as a player — as that has always steered me in the right direction. But I am also at a point in my life where it is of equal importance to find an opportunity that encourages my evolution as a man: moving out of my comfort zone to a new city and community which offers the greatest potential for my contribution and personal growth,” Durant explained in his Players’ Tribune letter. Since KD’s departure his former teammate Westbrook had a history-making MVP season. They were good together but they are even better apart. Needless to say sometimes change can be good.

The truth of the matter is that the Warriors have built a winning team of players that are great at what they do. That’s it. No, it’s not a squad of megastars. It’s a squad of mentally tough, talented players that have a high basketball IQ and unprecedented efficiency on the court. Imagine that. What has happened is that the Warriors are playing chess…while everyone else is playing checkers. When you’re that great, victory is inevitable and that makes things boring for the fan who wants to see struggle. Yes. The game is changing. It’s not what it used to be. But just like the classic line in ‘Jurassic Park’ says, “life will find a way.” The NBA will evolve into something interesting soon enough. So put down that glass of hater-ade and weather the storm of greatness.
KD’s dominance in Games 1 & 2 are clear evidence that he is in fact playing the type of basketball he wants to be playing and that his new environment is cultivating his development as a complete and dominant player on both ends of the floor. Yet and still, everyone remains salty. Words like “weak” have been tossed around in protest to Durant’s decision; as if the Warriors’ dominance is something he should be apologetic for. It should be noted that the major difference between this year’s finals matchup and last year’s is a healthy Stephen Curry, a healthy Kevin Love, and most of all, a Kevin Durant.

Numbers don’t lie. 5 blocks? Going toe-to-toe with the best player in the league (LeBron James)? There’s nothing “weak” about that. KD didn’t come along for the ride, he came to be great. So let the man be great.

It’s time to let Kevin Durant be great.