The mounting stress on Kevin Durant to win this yr’s NBA championship was mentioned Thursday on ESPN’s “First Take.”
Kevin Durant beneath stress to win this season after defending Kyrie
Kendrick Perkins defined to Stephen A. Smith why he believes Kevin Durant is beneath stress. For Perkins, the connection between Durant and Kyrie Irving is central to judging the season:
“Why is Kevin Durant defending Kyrie Irving a lot?”
Nevertheless, Smith stated Durant’s determination to depart the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty to construct a title workforce in Brooklyn nonetheless burdens the Slim Reaper:
“If you happen to don’t win this yr, and Steph Curry does, you’ll be seen because the man who left Steph Curry to affix Kyrie Irving.”
Durant left the Warriors in 2019 to affix the Nets. The explanation for the transfer, which many Golden State gamers again, was a yelling match between Draymond Inexperienced and Durant.
Curry has commented on the second, saying:
“That second was most likely the one the place it is clear that it isn’t a foregone conclusion that he’ll be again subsequent yr.”
Irving didn’t play earlier within the season as a result of he’s unvaccinated. With vaccine mandates solely permitting him to play part-time, the workforce selected to close him down. Since Brooklyn reversed that call in December, he has performed 15 video games, averaging 25.1 factors, 4.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists.
The Brooklyn Nets (32-31) have slid to eighth within the Japanese Convention with Durant sidelined by a knee damage. As soon as in first place within the East, they’ve misplaced 4 of their previous 5 video games after an 11-game dropping skid. Final month, the Nets traded James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons.
What was imagined to be an inevitably profitable season has turned out to be one crammed with mounting troubles.
Earlier than the damage, Durant was within the MVP dialog, averaging 29.3 factors, 7.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 36 video games.
Many analysts consider the Nets should still be title favorites if Durant, Simmons (who hasn’t performed this season) and Irving can construct chemistry.
Because it was, the success of Brooklyn’s earlier Huge Three – Durant, Irving and Harden – by no means totally matured. Accidents performed a job, after which Harden bolted final month. Harden reportedly grew disenchanted with Irving and the franchise and desired a change, resulting in the blockbuster deal for Simmons.
What’s attention-grabbing, as Perkins highlighted, is Durant’s strict protection of Irving.
KD left Curry and the Warriors to come back to Brooklyn, and is now beneath mounting stress to show it was the right alternative. With Kyrie selecting to not get vaccinated, one would assume Durant could be sad with the choice because it in the end impacts their season.
Smith argued that Irving is beneath extra stress than Durant:
“What you gonna do Kyrie? You gonna be there to your brother?”
Durant has been Brooklyn’s sole chief this season. Many see him as holding the accountability of getting the Nets into the postseason.
Smith’s argument about Durant is legitimate. KD left one of many best squads within the NBA over the previous decade to begin a brand new chapter with Irving. Earlier than the season, it was assumed the 2 could be unstoppable, however the vaccine mandate and Irving’s alternative mixed to derai that notion.
For Durant to again Irving’s private determination a lot exhibits a considerable amount of religion in his pal. Smith stated, in flip, that Irving owes that respect again to KD, as he’s going to want Irving in full stride to make postseason waves.