The story of Kevin Durant is still being written, but if he were to hang up his athletic shoes today, he would be remembered as one of the greatest goal scorers of all time and one of the best players of the Golden State Warriors.
Although his time in the Bay Area was filled with a mixture of love and hate, Durant’s three years with the Warriors were neither boring nor tedious. It was both dominant and dramatic from start to finish.
Today, as he returns to the Bay Area for the first time since leaving in the summer of 2019 with the Brooklyn Nets, we take a look at four moments that will forever mark his time with the Dubs.
4. Achilles tear
The worst moment of Kevin Durant’s tenure with the Warriors came in fourth place on that list.
Facing a steady stream of media attention, Durant overcame a calf injury to return for Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals, where the Warriors lost 3-1 to the Toronto Raptors.
Despite the pressure, injuries and circumstances, he played very well – which he always did as a warrior.
He struck three times in the first quarter and prevented Toronto’s Pascal Siakam from coming to the edge of the field, which scared the hell out of both players and Raptors fans. At that point, the basketball world agreed that the Warriors would come back to win the series, but an injury struck.
Durant tore his Achilles tendon in the second quarter. Andre Iguodala and Stephen Curry helped KD into the locker room. He went to the hospital for the second half and was long gone when the Warriors stole the game – a victory that would not have been possible without Durant’s heroics in the first quarter.
That made his last night as a Warrior a summary of his legacy with the team. He wasn’t there at the start of the show, and he left at the end, much like the role he played in Warrior Dynasty.
What is your best memory of the seasons in Durant? This question was posed to Curry before KD returned to Golden State.
It was one of the best basketballs the world has ever seen, Curry said.
3. Cupcake game
Durant’s return to his first team was for a movie. Less than six months after he switched sides, and just under a year after the team lost seven games in the Western Conference finals – Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Warriors 1-3.
The injury was still fresh, the emotions raw as ever, and the tension over Durant’s decision was quickly mounting.
For the Super Bowl, the NBA had better ranking options and decided to go with the Durant-Westbrook card.
Durant did the KD thing and scored 34 points in the win. His teammates defended him in their media comments during the skirmishes on the field and after the game.
It was also an early indication that regardless of the circumstances, whether he was portrayed as a villain or a hero, Durant’s ability to score was unfathomable.
2. First ship
There is a history around the league that Durant is not filled with Warriors dominance, as noted by current head coach Steve Nash.
Despite this story, it’s clear that his first championship with the Dubs was special to Durant.
He repeatedly described her as an angelic woman and embraced every interaction, taking pictures with Bill Russell, his family, the entire Curry family, and even actor Michael Rapaport, who always casually walked around the field like he was Spike Lee for the Knicks.
Durant was completely engrossed in his Warriors teammate and in admiration of the feeling of finally lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
Kevin Durant of the Warriors took a dark turn after an altercation with Draymond Green. Durant has registered the most shot attempts in the last six games of the 2019 season: 5, 13, 7, 14, 7, 10. He averaged 19 shots per game in his career and the Warriors averaged 18 shots.
Of course, he still played well, as his skill and versatility were enough to put Durant in the role of Harrison Barnes and give him an effective 20 point lead. And when you have Stephen Curry on your side, it’s easy to win by dawdling.
But the playoffs demanded more. Durant scored 16 times in the first-round victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. He followed that performance with just eight tries in 34 minutes, while the ball was lost nine times through a mixture of a tested cross and several attacks from Patrick Beverley. The Warriors polished off a 20-point deficit, and Durant’s diminished shooting attempts finally became a national talking point.
Durant heard the noise and had to report it to the media the next day and deliver a sound bite. You know who I am…. My name is Kevin Durant.
Kevin Durant: I’m not going to go in there and fire 20-30 shots. I don’t play that way pic.twitter.com/jWafBVmXnG
– Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 17, 2019
Durant averaged 41 points on 57% of his shots from the field. He destroyed a very good defense for the Clippers and then had one of the best goal scorers in playoff history until he injured his calf against the Houston Rockets.
Within a week, Durant’s account of his uncertainty became that of the best basketball player on the planet.
The ability to turn it on and off whenever he wanted defined his warrior era and the Golden State dynasty as a whole.
When you look at the Warriors team with Slim Reaper, from creation to cinematic breakthrough, the media always stands out for the daily psychological analysis of the players and the managerial staff. The most obvious fact to remember about the Dubs is their ability to constantly remind fans and critics of who they were when they liked it.
Kevin Durant has always been a leader in the latter area.
frequently asked questions
What does KD say about warriors?
Who is the greatest Golden State Warrior of all time?
As far as statistics go, Wilt Chamberlain is still at Curry’s helm, but he played in a very different era. Regardless, it’s safe to say that Curry is the greatest warrior in team history, with his impact on and off the court.
What did the Warriors get for Kevin Durant?
But when Durant decided to leave the Warriors last year and go to the Nets – Brooklyn acquired him in a sign-and-trade deal and accepted a four-year, $164 million contract with Durant – his decision came as no surprise.