The Oklahoma City Thunder were up 3-1 against the Golden State Warriors. In the games that followed, Kevin Durant shot 12-31, 10-31, and 10-19. If Durant decides to leave, this would be the epitome of the I don’t want to be the man epidemic in the NBA.
What more can you ask for?
You have a fellow elite superstar in Russell Westbrook.
You have a semi-deep team with very good talent in the top four with Victor Oladipo and Steven Adams as the teams third and fourth best players in no respective order.
You have a coach who looked more than competent in the playoffs.
You were one win away from the NBA finals and had three cracks at the pinata to get it.
Where else can you look but in the mirror?
You were the reason you didn’t get to the finals, Kevin Durant. You’re supposed to to be the A1 superstar who makes sure you win one of those three games and had you shot 45% in game 5 or 6, you’re a champion.
I’m very much a believer in circumstance and things happen. For example, we could say that Klay Thompson erupting in game 6 was a chance happening and without it, Durant wins – and I believe this to be true. But I also believe Durant didn’t rise to the occasion; I think his shooting was wishy-washy at the most inopportune possible which is hard for me to excuse away as happenstance.
If Durant stays on the Thunder, they’re going to continually have a high chance of making the Western Conference Finals and ultimately winning a championship. Yes, the Spurs and Warriors and maybe Clippers will make this a tough proposition (unlike Lebron’s annual Eastern Conference cake walk) but the Thunder are positioned as well as anyone to win; the Thunder are a team you would go to, if you were a free agent like KD, to win the championship.
If he walks away now because he’s looking for a chance to win a title, it says a lot about him as a lack of a competitor.
If he leaves because he hates Oklahoma City or Westbrook’s erratic play bothers him, that’s another story.
Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr: Kevin Durant) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons