Kevin Durant, the NBA’s MVP and golden child, has heard more criticism in the past few months than he’s used to. It’s not Kobe level criticism, but he gets some.
First he backed out of a commitment to Team USA this summer, which left him open to some shots. Then he suffered a broken foot that required surgery, which has sidelined him for the start of the season — you can’t criticize a guy for an injury (well, the twitter verse will sometimes anyway) but he and Westbrook being down put the Thunder in danger of missing the playoffs, and even if they do it will be a long road from a low seed. Another year without a title will lead to whispers — unfair whispers, but they’ll be there — that Durant can’t lead a team to a ring.
Durant doesn’t care what you think. He doesn’t want your sympathy. He’s just feeling like Aretha — he wants some R-E-S-P-E-C-T, he told Michael Lee of the Washington Post.
“I really don’t give a damn what people got to say,” Durant said. “I really don’t care if they cut me slack or they don’t. I’m not looking for no sympathy from nobody. I’m not looking for no praise from nobody. It’s all good, either way with me. I just look for respect from teammates as a player and as a man. That’s what I want. All that other stuff, I learned how to tune that stuff out and not worry about. I used to think about it. ‘Are they going to cut me slack? Do they love me if I play this way.’ I really don’t give a damn….
“You can’t please everybody,” Durant continued. “I can go out there and average 50 points a game, it’s always going to be something people say. If you don’t like me for it, so what?”
KD, not always so nice.
You have to like that he’s developed a bit of an edge, a tougher skin over the years. He’s going to do what he’s going to do and he’s not listening to everyone else about it anymore.
I think the Thunder will make the playoffs, that they can get to the 48-49 wins it will take to get the eight seed in the West — but that’s as high as they go. Look at it this way: currently the 7 seed in the West, Dallas, is on pace for 59 wins. The Thunder aren’t getting anywhere near that number, or even the mid 50s, so they aren’t getting higher than the eight seed without help.
What will be interesting is to see teams jockey to avoid the Thunder in the first round. That’s a sign of R-E-S-P-E-C-T.