OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 12: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates after being named Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-120 in Game 5 to win the 2017 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 12, 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)

When Kevin Durant signed with the Warriors last summer, he infuriated NBA fans by saying the move to Golden State, which had just won an NBA-record 73 games and lost the Finals in seven games, was “the hardest road” to winning his first championship.

Well, Durant got that first championship on Monday, and it didn’t seem too hard. The Warriors won 67 games even though Durant missed six weeks late in the regular season. Then they went 16-1 in the playoffs, beating the Cavs for the title in five games despite an historic performance by LeBron James.

Even so, Durant stood by his assessment from last summer when he joined The Bill Simmons Podcast on Wednesday:

“We put in work, man. Stop telling that it wasn’t earned or we didn’t work for it, man. We were the most disciplined team all year, we preached teamwork and togetherness all season, and it’s hard to do that with a bunch of egos in the league, and we peaked at the perfect time.

We got better when I got hurt. We struggled at first, then, as a smart team does, that plays together, that’s unpredictable out there, they figured it out, and when I was hurt, they took it to another level. And then when I came back, we just kept going from there.

But we were disciplined, we had a message everyday – it was always just about us.”

I want to like Durant so badly because he’s just so frickin’ good on the basketball court. But seriously? I don’t quite agree with what Stephen A. Smith thinks about him, but I am getting tired of hearing him talk.

The Warriors won 73 games last season. They were possibly the best team of all-time and certainly the best of the last 20 years. Anybody who signs a two-year deal with an opt out after the first season is taking the easy road. The only road that may have been easier was joining LeBron in Cleveland, and even that’s arguable.

Durant deserves this championship. So many basketball analysts and fans judge superstars based on how many titles they win, and Durant, at 27 years old last summer, still had none. Everything he did was within the rules, and then he completely dominated the NBA Finals on both ends of the floor in a stunning performance.

And I trust Durant when he says the Warriors worked hard to create chemistry and put the team ahead of their egos. But every team has to do that to win a title. It’s just that the other 29 don’t have the benefit of playing four superstars.

So don’t tell me winning wasn’t easy.

[The Bill Simmons Podcast]

About Jesse Kramer

Jesse is a writer and editor for The Comeback. He has also worked for SI.com and runs The Catch and Shoot, a college basketball website based in Chicago. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Follow Jesse on Twitter @Jesse_Kramer.

Comments are closed.