Kevin Durant has been ejected five times this season. Nobody has been ejected more since Rasheed Wallace singlehandedly forced the NBA to crack down on technical fouls.
Durant, via Chris Haynes of ESPN:
“It’s just a part of the evolution that I’m going through,” Durant told ESPN. “I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not perfect. I don’t have all the answers. It will probably take the offseason for me to assess, ‘OK, let’s figure out how to tone this down a little.’ But I’m comfortable sharing this because all I care about is that,” he said as he pointed to the practice court.
“I love this game, and I’m going to do whatever I can to help my team get back to where we were last year. That’s what I’m excited for. That’s why you’re seeing this passion from me. Before, I used to care about the game and the lifestyle. Now, all I care about is my love for the game, the pureness of the game. This is me.”
“It’s just my emotions and passion for the game,” Durant said after Friday’s practice session. “After winning that championship (last season), I learned that much hadn’t changed. I thought it would fill a certain [void]. It didn’t. That’s when I realized in the offseason that the only thing that matters is this game and how much work you put into it. Everything else off the court, social media, perception, isn’t important. What people say, how they view you, it’s not important.
“What we did as a team was special, and I want to experience that again. My love and passion for the game has [blossomed] because I understand that’s what it’s all about, and I’m pouring all of this [newfound thirst] into this game. But I know I have to keep [my fire] under control, and I will.”
Durant has been debuting The Real Durant for years. It doesn’t always stick. He keeps trying to find himself, and I’m not sure he’s there yet. It’s hard – especially in the spotlight like he is.
I have numerous theories for Durant’s technical-foul barrage this season. Is Draymond Green rubbing off on him? Does Durant know he’s too good for the Warriors to punish him when he steps over the line? Is he bored by a long regular season on a championship favorite and picking fights to spice things up?
He’s clearly passionate, but he was passionate before, and he wasn’t getting T’d up left and right like this. He says he’ll reign it in for the playoffs, and maybe he will. But he also touted that he got ejected only late in decided games. Last night was different, as Durant got tossed to end the first half.
That was a line he publicly set for himself, and he crossed it. Looks like just part of the continuous journey of discovering himself.