Kevin Durant ended up with the team he wanted to play for again. Now he’s with the Phoenix Suns, a team ready to help KD add another NBA championship to his resume.
Monty Williams, the reigning coach of the year, now has Durant, Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton as his stars. It’s a quartet more than capable of leading the franchise to the NBA Finals.
Here’s NBA analyst Chris Broussard on what it means if Kevin Durant can’t make it out of the Western Conference:
“The Suns are absolutely the team to beat in the West… If the Suns don’t at least win the West, if they’re healthy, this is the biggest setback of Kevin Durant’s career.”
The same was expected of KD when he formed an alliance with Kyrie Irving with the Brooklyn Nets. Expectations were raised to a higher level when they sent quality players to make a successful trade for former MVP James Harden.
Durant, Harden and Irving, however, played just 16 games together and went 13-3. Due to injuries and various off-court dramas, KD just couldn’t have his superstars with him all the time.
The storied trio won just one playoff series when they eliminated the Boston Celtics 4-1 in 2021. Irving and Harden played just four games, a series later, in a seven-game series against the eventual NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks.
It could easily be said that an inch of Kevin Durant’s foot changed the course of NBA history. KD almost pulled the Brooklyn Nets through against the Bucks without two of the league’s most creative scorers.
The following season, a fully healthy Celtics swept the Ben Simmons-less Nets. Boston’s physical and relentless defense made Durant look old while Kyrie Irving faded after a fantastic first game.
Some of the things that sabotaged Durant’s much-vaunted tenure with the Nets were beyond his control. He hopes to play with more reliable teammates this time. If they stay healthy, they are poised to make a deep run in the playoffs.
Win or lose, Kevin Durant has been robbed again for leaving for another championship-ready team
Kevin Durant received a ton of criticism for leaving the OKC Thunder in the summer of 2016. He joined the Golden State Warriors, who went 73-9 the previous season behind Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
KD immediately went to the NBA Finals with the Warriors, winning two championships in the process. If he and Thompson hadn’t gotten hurt in the 2019 Finals, Durant likely would have had a triple-double.
Durant then left the stability, culture and management of the Bay Area team for the Brooklyn Nets with Kyrie Irving. This is considered the biggest mistake of his career. The Nets project was just a total disaster, a project that could go down as the worst in NBA history.
The Phoenix Suns present another golden opportunity for Kevin Durant to win another championship. He has said on several occasions that he is not a leader, but in Chris Paul he has one of the best in NBA history. The Suns have size and length, led by Deandre Ayton.
And then there’s Devin Booker. Durant has perhaps the best shooting guard in the league today on offense as a teammate. KD and Booker will give their opponents all kinds of problems to deal with, especially with “Point God” running the games.
Kevin Durant will be under a lot of pressure to return the Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals, something he was unable to do in Brooklyn.
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