Kevin Durant’s Legacy Will Take a Hit if Warriors Win Title: Analyst

Kevin Durant

Getty Kevin Durant congratulates Steph Curry during a Golden State Warriors game.

Kevin Durant’s legacy could be on the line in the upcoming NBA Finals, one analyst suggests.

Durant faced criticism for joining an already-loaded Golden State Warriors team in 2016 and again when he decided to leave for the Brooklyn Nets following the 2019 season, and is under the microscope once again as the Warriors return for their sixth NBA Finals appearance in the last eight seasons. Appearing on Fox Sports’ “First Things First,” analyst Nick Wright said it wouldn’t look good for Durant if the Warriors were to win another title without him.

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Taking Aim at Durant

Wright admitted that all of Durant’s accomplishments during his time with the Warriors —  his championships and NBA Finals MVPs — were well-earned. But he added that it would reflect poorly on Durant’s career legacy if the same Warriors team were to win a title three years after his departure.

“However, if the Warriors win a title before he gets there and now they’re back in the Finals and might win a title without him — if after LeBron left Miami, if [Dwyane] Wade and [Chris] Bosh two years later won a title, that wouldn’t be great for LeBron,” he told co-host Chris Broussard. “If the year [Michael] Jordan retired to go to baseball, if [Scottie] Pippen — that Bulls team was good, they won 50-some games — but if they won the title [Broussard], even you, wearing your Jordan pajamas to bed would be like ‘Well, that’s something. It’s not great.’

“And so I don’t think it’s unfair, I don’t think it’s picking on Durant to say if this core, Steph [Curry], Klay [Thompson], Draymond [Green], won a title before him and now they are back in the Finals in the same year Durant loses in Round 1 and the only team swept in these whole playoffs, one could say these playoffs went as poorly as possible for Durant’s legacy. I think that’s right.”

After two seasons that fell short of the playoffs following Durant’s exit — years that were marked by major injuries to both Thompson and Curry — the Warriors surged back this season, advancing to the NBA Finals after dispatching the Dallas Mavericks in five games in the Western Conference Finals. The seventh-seeded Brooklyn Nets were swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round.

Durant Responds

The Brooklyn Nets star didn’t seem too interested in Wright’s take. When a fan asked for his response to the criticism, Durant brushed it off.

“I would say that these people have been hurting for way too long, it’s time for #healing..,” he tweeted.

Durant has often spoken out against criticism of his tenure with the Warriors, both his decision to join the team and his later to leave for the Nets. In February, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said that if Durant failed to win a title with the Nets, the decision to split from Steph Curry would leave a stain on his legacy.

“Kevin Durant is on the verge for being recognized more so for the guy that left Steph Curry to go with Kyrie Irving than he is for the two chips and two finals MVP?” NBA Today. “I didn’t say we would forget him, I didn’t say we would diminish him because he’s a two-time champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP.”

Durant took to Twitter to offer a one-word response to Smith’s assertion — “egregious.”

READ NEXT: Draymond Green Says Warriors Rookie Can Become ‘Perennial All-Star’

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