There are a ton of players lacking championship hardware, so why is this a big deal? Why single out Durant? The simple answer is that we want and expect more from Durant, because Durant is not just a good player – he is a superstar, and with that label, more is obviously expected.
Just how good is Durant?
Durant’s accolades include 2013-14 MVP, seven-time NBA All-Star, and five-time first-team All-NBA. He’s led the league in scoring four years (2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2013-14), and he’s the active leading scorer with 27.4 points per game. Impressive achievements, but they do not completely frame Kevin Durant’s basketball landscape. To get closer to the real portrait, the lens should capture Durant’s ability to cover the basketball court with ease, his length and lateral movement allow him to influence play on both ends of the court. He effortlessly shoots over any defender, and on the rare off night when his jumper is missing, he can handle the ball in tight places, drive the lane and either score or get to the free-throw line. He is the mold of an efficient, superstar basketball player.
Yes, impressive, most impressive, but where are the rings, Kevin?
During the budding years of a superstar, this question is merely a whisper, simply an errand that will get taken care of in due time with nothing to worry about. Time moves on, though, and the superstar wades deeper into his/her prime years of play, and the volume from this question gets loud. Not ear-splitting loud yet, but too loud to ignore, and something needs to happen to shut this noise off. This is what drove LeBron James to Miami. Does anyone really believe that LeBron wanted to leave Cleveland? No, he had to do anything possible to silence the noise, because the noise would never, ever stop on its own. People like to tear down what they’ve built up. LeBron’s accomplishments in the form of All-Star teams, All-NBA teams, and MVP awards only turned him into an unwilling master conductor, guiding the spectator chorus section into a crescendo singing, “Where are the rings!”
At what point in time will people realize that Kevin Durant’s basketball ability puts him in LeBron’s category of expectations? How much longer before the decibel level of the “where are the rings” question increases to ear-splitting volume? LeBron made it to seven years played before he made the move to Miami, and now Durant enters into his 10th year.
Where are the rings, Kevin? The clock is ticking.