The NBA Playoffs always tend to fall heavily on the star players of the league. Kyrie Irving in Boston, James Harden in Houston, Kawhi Leonard in Toronto, and Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee all have the weight of their respective cities on their shoulders. Even out here in the Bay Area, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson all seem to have elevated their game now that the Conference semifinals have begun.
Oh, and then there is Kevin Durant, who is by far standing out the most in this edition of the NBA Playoffs.
“I’m Kevin Durant. You know who I am. Y’all know who I am,” Durant said.
This is the same guy who was picked No. 2 overall in the 2007 NBA Draft behind Greg Oden, who was last seen getting his degree from Ohio State after being a bust. The same guy who is the 10-time All-Star, 4-time Scoring Champion, MVP and do not forget 2-time “Horse” Champion. Many in the league have taken a step back on Durant’s skillset with the rise of talent among the NBA along with individual season success from star players.
From game one of the series against the Los Angeles Clippers, Durant has been doing almost everything possible to remind the league he is the most complete and skilled player, better than Antetokounmpo and better than Harden. It is not even close.
Even with Patrick Beverley looking to get inside Durant’s head, the back-and-forth banter with Beverley gave Durant more validation to dominate the rest of the series. Since game three against the Clippers, after Durant made those first-person comments, he has been averaging about 38 minutes per game, shooting 52% from the field and 43% from three. Also, Durant has an average of 34 points per game while his assist per game numbers are also hovering around his regular season average of 5.9. That’s incredibly durable for the team that lost DeMarcus Cousins two games into the playoffs.
Durant’s tear lately also shows how valuable he has been for the Warriors. In the second game against the Rockets when Curry had to go back into the locker room with his dislocated left middle finger, Durant remained the constant offensive force for the team. This production outplays almost the entire field of players that are left in the NBA Playoffs. And it is certainly needed for Golden State to get past Houston and the winner of Portland-Denver series.
Now if he decides to leave this offseason or even explore his options in free agency, all of Dub Nation should be grateful for the past three seasons. Durant has truly been everything we expected him to be once he decided to join back on Independence Day in 2016. We have watched the prime of his career here in the Bay Area and we can always look back on the playoff memories that he has given Warriors fans for years to come.