Kevin Durant was a two-time champion and two-time NBA Finals MVP during his time on the Golden State Warriors, which is quite the measuring stick for any of the other stops of his excellent career.
“It is hard for me to compare anything to that era,” he said, per Marc J. Spears of Andscape. “There is nothing for me to compare that to, whether we win or not. It’s different situations. All of that has helped me to step into this situation knowing what to maybe to expect or know what is coming as a veteran.”
While those Warriors teams were loaded with future Hall of Famers in Durant, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, the current Phoenix Suns star knows that didn’t mean it was easy.
“Winning the championship is hard,” Durant said. “Winning back-to-back is even harder. I didn’t need time away to be like, ‘Man, now I can just really reflect …’ I’ve always been that person where I know how special that time was and still is and will be forever.”
Durant played just three seasons for the Warriors from 2016 to 2019, and it is impossible to classify the brief tenure as anything but a success even if he was criticized by some at the time for creating a super team.
Golden State went to the NBA Finals in all three of those seasons, winning the championship in the first two and falling to the Toronto Raptors the third time in part because Durant and Thompson suffered injuries.
Durant then sat out the 2019-20 campaign with the Achilles setback, although he had already departed the Warriors for the Brooklyn Nets at that time.
Yet he said he doesn’t necessarily think about what could have happened if he stayed with the Warriors and continued to chase championships with that same core.
“No. I wouldn’t say what if,” Durant said. “I tend to reflect a lot, though, all the time. It was some good times not just on the court, but just personally. I was going through a lot, understanding more and moved to a different region of the country. There’s a lot of factors that went into that time and that’s the reason why I don’t want to just loosely compare anything to it.”
Golden State ended up winning another title in 2022 after Durant was no longer on the team, giving the Curry, Thompson and Green trio four for their careers. Perhaps there could have been a fifth or sixth if Durant stayed put, but the 13-time All-Star is instead chasing another title with a formidable Suns squad.
A grouping of Durant, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal and Jusuf Nurkic may not be what those Warriors teams were years ago, but Phoenix is capable of winning the championship this season if the stars stay healthy.
Doing so would give the four-time scoring champion another ring and one that came away from the dominant group with the Warriors. It would only bolster his already illustrious legacy and further cement his status as one of the NBA’s all-time greats.
It would also give him something else to reflect on when he looks back at his career one day.