Josh Schrock | NBC SPORTS
Over the past three seasons, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the Warriors enjoyed an unprecedented run of success.
The Warriors won two NBA titles and were injuries to Durant and Klay Thompson away from three-peating. The Dubs went 16-1 in the 2017 NBA playoffs and there was no ceiling to what they could accomplish with a core of Durant, Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green.
But Durant chose to take his talents to Brooklyn this summer, signing with the Nets to play alongside his friend Kyrie Irving and hopefully lead a team that truly is his.
Durant later explained his decision to the Wall Street Journal, noting he never felt accepted as a member of the Warriors. Curry, Thompson and Green all are homegrown talents and he never felt he had the same cache as those three and Andre Iguodala.
For Curry, who counts Durant as one of his good friends, that was difficult to hear.
“I mean, that’s tough,” Curry told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols about Durant’s comments. “There’s so many narratives that go on, especially when you’re at the top of the league. No matter how, you know, the full transition happens to Brooklyn, him separating himself from the Warriors — that’s gonna happen. I think he knows, you know, what we were about as teammates, what we were about as friends on and off the court. And again, nobody is gonna take away the accomplishments we had. But at the end of the day, whatever he, you know, needed to do to make that decision and however he wants to explain that — that’s just what’s gonna happen.”
As for Durant’s decision to leave, Curry holds no ill will toward the two-time NBA Finals MVP.
“At the end of the day, we live in an age where choice at the forefront, and K, you know, made a decision for himself and you can’t argue that,” Curry said. “I wish we could still play with K. He’s an unbelievable talent, unbelievable person. We accomplished a lot together. But — you know, things have changed a little bit. So you obviously wish him the best, obviously with his recovery first and foremost and things on and off the court. But we’re gonna have to battle down the road. So this should be a fun, new experience on that front, too.”
Durant ruptured his Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals and likely will miss the upcoming season. Warriors owner Joe Lacob already has stated he plans to retire Durant’s No. 35 to honor the accomplishments and historic nature of the era of Warriors basketball.
Whenever KD makes his return to the Bay, he’s sure to get a rousing ovation from the fans and some love from Curry, who always accepted him as a co-star of one of the most impressive runs in NBA history.
Steph Curry fires back after Kevin Durant criticizes Warriors offense
Josh Schrock | NBC SPORTS
Kevin Durant has sent some mixed messages about what he wants in his basketball situation.
He was the man in Oklahoma City, co-starring with Russell Westbrook in an offense heavily predicated on isolation basketball. In search of playing a more beautiful game, Durant left OKC in 2016 to join the Warriors and Steve Kerr’s ball-movement offense.
After three years and unparalleled success, Durant exited the Bay to head to Brooklyn, signing with the Nets in free agency in July. The two-time NBA Finals MVP discussed his exit from the Warriors in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, and he had some critiques of Kerr’s motion offense. Durant believes the system is limited, and there would come a time in the playoffs where he needed to “go into his bag” to get his own shot because the opposition had figured out how to slow down Kerr’s offense.
Curry, who has been almost unstoppable in the Warriors’ system, had something to say about Durant’s criticism.
“Well, I don’t care what plays we ran,” Curry told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols on “The Jump.” “We won two championships. And at the end of the day, we had a lotta talent and there was an expectation of us figuring out how to balance all that. And we talked a lot about it throughout the three-year run. It wasn’t always perfect, but I think in terms of, you know, the results and what we were able to do on the floor, that kinda speaks for itself.
“We all wanna play iso-ball at the end of the day in some way, shape or form. But I’d rather have some championships, too.”
It’s hard to argue with either point of view. Durant is one of the most talented scorers in NBA history, and was a seamless fit in Kerr’s offense. But his isolation game almost is unguardable, so it’s understandable why he would want the ball in his hands more. Really, who wouldn’t want Durant to have the ball?
But as Curry said, the Warriors’ results over the past five seasons speak to the success and potency of their ball-movement offense, one of the reasons the Warriors almost were able to win the 2019 NBA Finals even after Durant ruptured his Achilles.
Just turn on the tape, and you can see how effective the offense is, both with and without Durant.