Kevin Durant Must Win First Round Without Steph Curry to Protect Legacy

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Kevin Durant
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 04: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors looks on against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first half in Game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 4, 2017 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Kevin Durant is globally recognized as one of the top two players in the entire world. Some would say he is at the top of the mountain and have convincing arguments why he should be. Standing close to seven feet tall, Durant is a walking bucket who strikes fear into opposing teams when he gets going. Not only is he an offensive juggernaut, but since coming to the Golden State Warriors, he has rounded out the rest of his game. Averaging a career-high in blocks, Durant has spearheaded Golden State’s stout defense; the Warriors lead the league in blocked shots.

Unfortunately for the Warriors, they have been hit by the injury bug for the first time in quite a while. Warriors coach Steve Kerr has already announced that two-time MVP Stephen Curry will miss the first round of the playoffs. The burden will fall on Durant, who will have a chance to either improve or damage his legacy.

Kevin Durant Needs to Step Up for His Legacy

Cupcake

While Durant has the respect of a lot of people, there are some out there who question his toughness. Not only did he join a team that won 73 games, he also joined the team that knocked him out of the playoffs. Combining Durant with Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green propelled this team to a championship last year. Some saw this as the easy way out, the classic “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” method. Durant has brought his recent criticism on himself admitting to having an alternate Twitter account and arguing with referees. All that is irrelevant to me; how Durant performs without Curry is where I wait to judge him.

Wild West

The Warriors could be facing one of several hot teams this season in round one. Whether it be the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Minnesota Timberwolves, or the New Orleans Pelicans, nothing is a given in the tough Western Conference. Durant needs to show that he isn’t just along for the ride and that he is a centerpiece for this team. Racking up stats when no one is looking is one thing, but winning under the spotlight without your alleged best player is another.

Bottom Line

Now, I’m not here to tell you that Kevin Durant can’t get it done. I have every bit of confidence in the world he can. In this situation, though, he has no choice but to get it done – no excuses. If we continue to put Durant on the same pedestal as LeBron James, then Durant has to win, with or without Curry. The West is as tough as it’s ever been and anyone could lose in any round. But for Durant, it doesn’t matter who he faces in the first round. If he loses without Curry, he will forever be seen as Curry’s sidekick. Kevin Durant, show us why you’re considered to be among the NBA’s elite.

 

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