Durant, who most claim to be the second best player in the world behind LeBron James, wasn’t able to carry the team on his back like many thought he was capable of doing. He looked fatigued throughout the series and wasn’t able to come up big in key moments.
Oklahoma City was without star point guard Russell Westbrook, who many thought was holding Durant back, so the results were somewhat shocking.
An interesting question was brought up by Colin Cowherd on his radio show on ESPN earlier in the week, and it’s something I’ve wondered for a long time: Why is Durant given a pass that most NBA fans didn’t give LeBron?
Think back to the days when LeBron was with the Cleveland Cavaliers. All we ever heard was how he didn’t have a killer instinct, how he can’t close out games, or how he hadn’t won an NBA championship.
We never hear these things about Durant. He has hit big shots and made it to an NBA final, but so did LeBron. Outside of a couple scoring titles from Durant, LeBron had accomplished way more during his time in Cleveland than Durant has to this point. The Cleveland teams LeBron played on were atrocious, which is putting it nicely. Those teams had no business ever winning 60 plus games or making a finals appearance, but LeBron carried them there, yet was still not considered “clutch” or a winner.
Why does everyone allow Durant to slide by? Where was the outrage when he missed two crucial free throws in the final minutes of Game 2 against Memphis? Where were all the comments about how Durant will never get it done or that he doesn’t have what it takes? People have unfairly ridiculed LeBron over his entire career up until last season when he finally captured his first ring, but why did he receive such scrutiny?
I think it falls back on two things. First, people just like Kevin Durant more. He is a nice, quiet guy who keeps to his self and has never had any issues. He never had any moments like LeBron with his decision to leave Cleveland or proclaiming himself the king of basketball in high school.
The second reason is that LeBron is a threat to the throne of Michael Jordan. He is a major contender to take the spot as best basketball player of all time, and that threat isn’t there with Durant. People love Jordan, and don’t want to see anyone be considered better.
While the scrutiny of LeBron will always continue, I think people will still give Durant the benefit of the doubt. Even so, the clock is ticking for him. He’s been in the league long enough and established himself; it’s time to win a ring.