Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Feel Bad For Kevin Durant

It may sound crazy, but I really feel bad for Kevin Durant.  Yes, he is on top of the world right now.  He just dominated the FIBA World Championships in a way we've never seen and hasn't one single piece of bad press since he entered the league.  He even made positive headlines this summer when announced he was signing an extension with the Thunder via twitter as opposed to what LeBron and the other big name free agents did this summer.  There's really nothing to dislike about Kevin Durant.  And that's where he's going to run into a problem.

With the stench of "The Decision" still lingering, fans are looking for the anti-LeBron and the anti-Heat.  Enter Durant and the Thunder.  Small market team with homegrown players who have developed together.  This summer has bred a LeBron vs. Durant culture among NBA fans (even if LeBron and Durant aren't treating it that way). All this is fine except I have this fear that we as NBA fans, not to mention the media, have set Kevin Durant up to fail, or at the very least not live up to our ridiculous expectations of him.

I feel like even if Durant duplicates his numbers from last season and his team wins 50 games again, people will feel underwhelmed this coming season.  What if his touches decrease next season.  Russell Westbrook had his own coming out party at the Worlds.  Serge Ibaka and James Harden are only going to get better and will need the ball more to develop.  This amazingly young team still doesn't have a lot of size.  Should we expect them to beat the Lakers with Cole Aldrich as their only significant offseason addition (or a healthy Blazers or Spurs team with the amount of size they have)?

While Durant was lights out at the Worlds (a style of play he is perfect for), he had his ups and downs during the Lakers series.  We should also keep in mind that so far he's only been to the playoffs once and hasn't played a game 7, let alone win a series.

I love watching Durant play.  I love how humble he is and how he puts his team first.  But let's remember he's still 21, he still hasn't won a playoff series (LeBron had been to the Conference Finals by 21 and the Finals by 22) or an MVP (though he's the hand's down favorite at this point). He's a top 5 player in the league but he's still not better then LeBron and still hasn't accomplished what Kobe's accomplished.  So let's everyone just sit back and enjoy Durant's ride and not set our own expectations for him through the roof.

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