Warriors

Warriors

The Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games in the 2017 NBA Finals.

Kevin Durant was named NBA Finals MVP after averaging 35.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.0 steals, while shooting 55.6 percent overall and 47.4 percent from deep.

"Everything was f--king great," Draymond Green told Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on Showtime's "All the Smoke" podcast. 

But things turned south pretty quickly for KD.

"He got the best of LeBron (James) that series. Kevin was f--king rocking," Draymond explained. "After that, that was kind of that moment of like, 'Damn, Kevin should be the best player in the NBA right now because of what he did to LeBron.'

"You turn on the TV the next day and the f--king headline is, 'LeBron James still the best player in the world?' All these people debating it and everybody still says LeBron James is the best player in the world. That's when I kind of felt like it took a turn.

"And then we come back for the 2017-18 season, and Kevin just wasn't as happy ... all of a sudden it was just like, 'F--k, why is Steph shooting this shot? F--k, he ain't pass the ball, or why Klay shooting this shot?' ... everything became an issue. It was all just everybody bumping heads ... it wasn't that the year before.

"Kevin had said to me once before, 'They keep this bulls--t up I'll get outta here.' Me and K was real close ... just trying to figure out how Kevin was gonna react to certain s--t. Steve Kerr would call a play for him and he would be like, 'I don't f--king want you to call a play. I want you to f--king make them play the right way!'

"And it's like, 'Yo, what are you talking about? You say you need the ball and you want the ball, but then I call a play for you and you say it ain't that.'

"So what is it? It's obviously a much bigger problem than just you getting the ball. So 2018, we win it. I'm like, 'Yo, I don't think he coming back.' But the thought of three-peating -- no one does that ... so I think he came back because of that. But his heart wasn't here no more.

"He was kind of one foot in and one foot out from the very beginning of the season."

In February 2019, Ethan Strauss of The Athletic wrote the following:

Sources say that Durant believed his besting of LeBron James in the 2017 Finals would get him hailed as the game’s top player, a mantle he’s craved for some time ... KD, who was “tired of being second” way back in 2013, was still stuck there reputationally, even in ultimate victory.

He was still behind LeBron in the eyes of pundits, basketball Twitter, and perhaps most importantly, at Nike, who’s employed Durant longer than any team. Then, the next Finals unfolded in much the same way, with much the same result, all while Warriors fans cheered loudest for the smaller MVP’s baskets.

In Game 6 of the Warriors' first-round playoff series last year vs. the Los Angeles Clippers, Durant racked up 50 points (on just 26 shots) and five assists. He registered 45 points and six assists in Game 5.

[RELATED: Kerr talks 'KD jealous of LeBron's No. 1 status' narrative]

About a week later -- before Golden State's Game 2 win over the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals -- Kerr said the following to Sporting News:

"I think Kevin wants to be recognized as the best player in the world. And I happen to think he is."

The whole "best player in the NBA" conversation is something that people love to debate. It's subjective and people have different viewpoints and perspectives.

Let's just hope that KD makes a full recovery from his Achilles tear and is right back in the discussion next season.

 

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