by Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org
Mind … not blown.
Socks … still affixed to feet.
Hyperbolic rhapsody … reserved for events deemed more worthy here.
Sorry, just unable to get all caught up in the Kevin Durant-to-Golden State craze that seems to be sweeping sports nation today with the now former Oklahoma City star announcing via The Players’ Tribune that he intends to sign a deal with the Warriors.
OK, so maybe it’s not a case of ho-hum, zzzzzzzz for me. There is some measure of interest there.
But not to the same level of many others, apparently.
Not for nothing, but KD always struck me as the second-best player on the Thunder … even before it became blatantly obvious that Russell Westbrook had surpassed him in 2014-15 with what seemed to be a season-long tribute to Oscar Robertson and the triple-double.
He’s a 6-foot-9 beanpole of an NBA player who can shoot and score with the best of them, and, yet, still have little impact on games. If he’s “off,” forget about it. Durant is a total non-factor then.
Oh, he might get numbers even on nights when he struggles, but they’re hollow, more of the “accumulated by accident” variety than the classic stat-sheet stuffing done by LeBron James or an in-his-prime Kevin Garnett, when dominating a game can happen without even tallying a basket.
Yeah, he was the headliner this offseason, the big fish, the top dog, the main catch of the 2016 free-agent market. But it always seemed to be a “name” thing to me.
Kinda like his whole career has been.
Put it this way, when experts and fans clamoring for the 76ers to draft Brandon Ingram instead of Ben Simmons at No. 1 in last month’s draft because the former, not the latter, reminded them so much of KD … it wasn’t exactly viewed as a ringing endorsement for the Duke product here.
The heart wasn’t exactly skipping a beat at the prospect of the hometown franchise making a play for NBA veteran himself this summer, either.
With Simmons needing a little space to spread his wings and hopefully evolve into the transcendent talent many envision he could be, the last thing the club needed was to invest a massive portion of its immediate future, and bankroll, in a set-in-his-ways, security-blanket option who, intentionally or not, likely would have derailed the learning curve, or any growth whatsoever.
For Simmons and, frankly, the entire Sixers’ roster, which is mostly comprised of young talent attempting to find its way.
Durant just doesn’t strike me as the type of do-what-is-best-for-the-team guy needed by the Sixers at this juncture. We’re not talking about a guy who would be openly willing to sacrifice even a single shot if it meant a more positive outcome, especially long-term, for the squad.
Nothing wrong with that, actually … if a player such as him joins forces with an outfit more suited for a given entity. He makes far more sense for Golden State, where he can be paired with fellow gunslingers Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
Where fans there can then wonder why their team isn’t winning it all despite having all that firepower. Despite having the great Kevin Durant and his reportedly limitless scoring talents in tow.
Some interest in the signing? Sure, along the crash-and-burn variety.
It’s a weird dynamic. It really is.
The people who are hooting and hollering the most about Kevin Durant departing Oklahoma City for Golden State means that the NBA title will be residing in Oakland, Calif., for years to come are the same yahoos killing the guy for making the move.
Seriously. Even one of his biggest proponents, ESPN’s Screamin’ A, is ripping him, calling KD’s decision “the weakest move I’ve seen from a superstar.”
OK, bust Durant’s chops for using social media to get on LeBron James bolting Cleveland for Miami, where he teamed with fellow all-stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to win two crowns in four seasons, six years ago, but, c’mon, “weakest move?”
He wants to win a title, probably to secure his legacy as one of the biggest stars of his generation if not the sport’s history. He’s been to the NBA Finals once, and lost to LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh.
He seemed poised for another trip this year until him and the rest of the Thunder collapsed against Golden State in the Western Conference championship series after taking a 3-1 lead.
He wants a change of scenery, probably. He realizes his timeclock is ticking, too. Yeah, he’s only 27, but he’s nine years into his pro career.
Not for nothing, but he also was 21 when he got on LeBron’s case.
Times change. Priorities change. Perspectives change.
Not a fan by any stretch, as anyone would surmise if they read what’s to the left here, but cut the kid some slack.
To him, this was his best opportunity to win it all. So he took it.
Nothing weak about that at all.