Kevin Durant Completely Wrong For Comments Regarding Kawhi Leonard

Kevin Durant Kawhi Leonard

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

How come whenever the best player in the world in LeBron James says anything, every single syllable is dissected, but when the second-best player on the planet criticizes a world champion nobody bats an eye? Many of you probably have not even heard the comments Kevin Durant used regarding San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard.

Durant called out Leonard via Twitter, stating that he has been “doing work like this because of the system.” Durant then went on to say that Paul George would be better on the Spurs than Leonard has been. Whether these comments are accurate or inaccurate, they are 100 percent unwarranted from the reigning MVP.

If LeBron makes these same exact comments, everyone goes nuts. Does this not get media attention because Durant did not announce what team he is signing with on ESPN and in front of the Boys and Girls Club of America? Is it because he had a heartfelt news conference when accepting his MVP award?

Durant is an amazing basketball player and seems to be an amazing person off the court. However, for this guy to call out the 2014 NBA Finals MVP is simply not right. It is not Leonard’s fault he has spent his short professional career with the Spurs. It is not Leonard’s fault that he is playing under one the greatest basketball coaches of all time. Those were the cards he was dealt, and he took full advantage.

Nowhere in Durant’s comments does he mention the fact that he had to guard James for almost every single minute he was on the court. Not only did Leonard have to guard LeBron in the championship series, but he also had to deal with Durant himself in the Western Conference Finals. Who came out on top there?

This article is not about whether Durant is right or wrong in his assessment. He just simply and amazingly does not have the credentials to make a criticism of this magnitude. Leonard has now played in two consecutive NBA Finals, has a ring, as well as a NBA Finals MVP Award. If we are going to judge LeBron for everything he says, when he has played in five different NBA Finals and won two of them, then it is only fair that Durant gets some backlash for these misguided comments.

Max Zelenko is a Philadelphia Eagles writer for Follow him on twitter @maxzelenko, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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  • Harry Kays

    What was the Spurs record when Kawhi was out with hand injury? 8-8 They likely miss the playoffs without one player Kawhi Leonard. System? right.
    Kawhi shot 52% last season 1.2 Turnovers per game
    George shot 42% last season 2.8 Turnovers per game
    Durant is mentally retarded. There’s jealousy and then there is another level called stupidity.

    • Albert Smith

      I agree 1000% percent he’s just salty!

    • Sgt. Beatdown

      We all saw Kawhi Leonard grow up in front of our eyes during the NBA Finals as he delivered on the biggest stage of them all. But just how good is Leonard? Does he compare to some of the league’s best small forwards? Paul George, for example?

      Durant evidently does no think Leonard has reached that upper echelon of small forwards made up of the likes of himself and George. After a fan claimed on Twitter that he’d prefer Leonard in a team over George, Durant had this to say:

      Durant later deleted his tweets, but his comments raise some interesting questions. First off, one has to imagine the frustration that Durant must have experienced watching the NBA Finals at home after winning the regular season MVP.

      Durant is right to some extent. Giving one of the Spurs an individual accolade is almost paradoxical when one watches them play basketball. Their system is how the Spurs carved up the Miami Heat up and all Spurs players must be able to fit into and thrive in that system. Even Gregg Popovich joked that while Leonard may think he did it all himself, the Larry O’Brian Trophy belongs to everyone in the organization.

      However, it does make one think about what would happen if Leonard was taken out of the Spurs team and, as Durant suggests, George was placed on the Spurs team.

      George is fantastic player who fits the Spurs mould down to a tee. A fantastic defender who can hit the three-pointer, George actually has a lot of similarities in his game to Leonard. Whether George would be alright with taking a back seat in an offensive system though remains unknown.

      When it comes to Leonard, however, it’s hard to judge how he would cope if he was taking 20-25 shots a night as the focal point of an offence as George does in Indiana.

      Leonard took 15 or more shots only 4 times in the regular season as compared to George’s 56 and while Leonard shot 52.2% from the field, almost 10% higher than George’s 42.4%, it’s hard to imagine Leonard’s efficiency would translate across a larger sample size.

    • Sgt. Beatdown

      Cant compare a 1st option player with a 4th option. KL hasnt done enough besides excel in a great system to even begin comparing him to the games elite.

      • Kel

        But Pop even said he didn’t make play calls for Kawhi, so Durant saying it’s only the system is incorrect. Although the Spurs do have a lot of weapons and are the most balanced team in the NBA and that certainly helps. I don’t mind him thinking Paul George is the better player, it’s definitely a question up for debate that could go either way. My problem is with how he did it. Kawhi deserves the praise he’s receiving, he came up big for his team, no doubt about it. The way KD did it made it sound more like sour grapes than an analysis and the context in which he said it. But then he back pedals and apologizes (but not really) and acts likes he’s the victim. He knows what he said and what he meant. It was clearly a slight at the expense of Leonard, no matter how small. And if LeBron says this, the sports world blows up. Although Skip and Stephen A. did condemn his actions on First Take this morning. KD needs to stop being wishy-washy, and just stand by what he says, or don’t say anything at all if you can’t handle the backlash.

        • Sgt. Beatdown

          KD meant it, he just deleted it because trolls live and feed off twitter. Stephen A and Skip are the biggest trolls in sports media. I stopped listening to them 2 years ago. Who cares if KD is wishy-washy, what he said was accurate. Kawhi played great for 3 out of the 5 games in the finals in a great system. Until he proves he can be a legit 1st option player then we can’t compare him to PG. PG has played at an elite level for couple years now, Kawhi has done it for 3 games. Check Kawhi’s game log, its nothing special at all, only the last 3 games of the finals where he was a product of a great system.

          • Kel

            I never said I didn’t agree that PG is a better player at this stage. My problem is that KD won’t just stick with his opinion. His sort of apology was silly. His problem is that he’s overly sensitive to what the media says about him. He should get over it and grow a thicker skin. The OKC is babied and seems to think everyone’s out to get them. Well, that’s a part of being a pro athlete. They will always be scrutinized, and their team needs to deal with it better. KD should just stand by what he said and say he thinks PG is a better player. And when he chooses to apologize, be a man and actually apologize. If he’s going to do it the way he did, just don’t apologize at all. He had no need to anyway, he’s allowed to have an opinion.

            Also, a lower percentage of Kawhi’s shots came off assists than KD’s in the Finals. So you can’t just say he’s a system player. Of course, he benefits from the great team play of the Spurs, but you have to give him some credit for his performance.

          • Sgt. Beatdown

            Kawhi gets a ton of credit for playing well within the system. Doesnt matter if his scores came off of iso or not. When you’re a system player, youre gonna have the energy to play very well when you do have the ball. All role players should be ready when theyre number is called. Thats what Kawhi is and thats what he did.

            KD wont stick to his opinion? Who gives a crap on whether or not he apologized. He obviously believes what he said and only apologized to make sure the trolls and sensitive fans calm down.

          • Kel

            I agree that Kawhi will have to prove himself after the Duncan era ends. But it does matter if his points come off of iso in the context of KD’s argument. Yes, he plays well within the system, but he is also a player with great potential and individual talent. Would he do as well as a 1st option? That remains to be seen, so there’s no reason to presuppose what Kawhi would or wouldn’t be able to do on a team different than the Spurs. Again, I don’t have a problem with what KD said regarding Kawhi.

            Also, what you said is exactly why I don’t like KD’s back-pedaling. There’s no reason for him to apologize. He shouldn’t worry what his detractors or people on the internet think. So for him to apologize (sort of) seems to me like he cares way too much. Why does he feel the need to appease them? He should be mentally mature enough not to play those games. I also don’t like the way he apologized. Saying, “I apologize (I really don’t)” just sounds petty, defensive, and somewhat passive-aggressive and I don’t like it because it’s disingenuous. And then he deletes it. Really? Why say it at all, if you don’t mean it? I guess I just prefer direct straight talk as opposed to politician’s speak. If he’s going to have back and forth with a bunch of trolls criticizing him behind a laptop, I’m just saying, he’s probably got better things to do with his time than trying to address them all. That’s exactly what they want him to do. He shouldn’t give them the satisfaction and just ignore it. He’s really just creating more drama where there doesn’t have to be any. It’s unnecessary. I think it’s a sign that he still needs to mature, which he will need to do if he wants to lead his team to a championship.

          • Sgt. Beatdown

            Why are you trying to play psychologist? Who gives a dam. Every pro athlete apologizes for a statement that starts debate. That’s just the way it is now with the trolling media. Until you or I are big time stars and need to make sure our PR is clean, we have no right to be angry at someone apologizing. He’s trying to protect his good PR, he’s got millions at stake with endorsements, etc. Stop trying to be his therapist.

          • Kel

            Jesus, I’m not trying to play psychologist, I just made a simple observation. When you’re a big time star, that’s why you think before you just start getting into it with people on Twitter. I’m also not angry with him. Why would I be? I’m simply stating what I believe to be true, I’m not mad at Kevin Durant, it’s not like he did something to me personally. But I’m allowed to have an opinion and instead of recognizing that, you get combative when people disagree with you. We can have different opinions and that’s fine, I don’t understand why you find that upsetting. I just said he needs to mature and stated my dislike for insincerity, I don’t see what the big deal is. I gave you my reasons for why I think KD should’ve handled things differently (as far as PR, he clearly could have done better), there’s no reason to pick a fight. I’m not trying to be a therapist, I’m just stating my opinion.

            I agree that the social media blows up for things that are insignificant and get way too excited about the things that celebrities and athletes say. But as someone with a lot of fame, they should be aware of that.

  • Layton Harman

    - Is Kawhi Leonard set to become the NBA’s next big star?

  • Sgt. Beatdown

    Kawhi Leonard played great within a great system (may blossom even more individually) for 3 out of the Spurs 4 wins (he was avg in the previous rounds, did nothing in Game 1 win), got Finals MVP and is now so much better than Paul George.

  • Harry Kays

    16 games in a season is enough games to make a conclusion.
    Kawhi was missing with an injury for 16 games this season and the Spurs were 8-8 in those games.That really say it all. That makes the “system” argument baseless.

    • Kel

      He’s the one Spurs player that is closest to being irreplaceable in terms of other guys stepping in to make up for the loss. If any of the other guys goes down, you still have SA as the favorites, without Kawhi, they lose a player with unique abilities from their lineup.

  • tone brink

    He just mad cause Leonard shut him down too. And whatever system K.D. is referring to Kawhi still had to make his shots. Which he did. He still had to defend. Which he did. Besides, every team has a system. The system determines the type of player they draft if they think hes a good fit….for that system….and Kwahi is. Spurs system is better than the Thunder system. Spurs system is move the ball around and find the best shot.The Thunder system; pass the ball to Durant and Westbrook if they miss, rebound, and pass the ball back to Durant and Westbrook

  • Robert Ulizza

    I will admit that Kevin Durant does sound salty… But he may have a little bit more insight on this than anyone else. He has played against both…