The three years that Kevin Durant donned a Golden State jersey from 2016-2019 were the final three years of one of the most incredible dynastic runs in NBA history.
The Warriors were unbeatable. They were even before Durant arrived, but once he signed his contract, no one could stop them. As we all remember, Golden State won two titles in Durant's first two years. In that third year, they went for the three-peat but came up short, losing to the Toronto Raptors in six games in the 2019 NBA Finals.
Many will point to Durant's torn Achilles in the 2019 playoffs as the reason the Warriors lost to the Raptors. And it's probably true. But according to Draymond Green, there may have been more going on.
"In my mind, after Year 2, you were over it," Green told Durant in an episode of Bleacher Report's "Chips" that aired Wednesday.
"You were onto the next thing, but we had the opportunity to three-peat. And in my mind, what brought you back in year three was just the opportunity to three-peat, but it didn't feel right for you no more."
Durant understands why that's the perception surrounding his final year in Golden State. Before he arrived in the Bay Area, Durant was a "happy go lucky" guy -- with an ultimate goal in mind, but wasn't quite sure how to obtain it. When he joined the Warriors, the goal was the same, but unlike in Oklahoma City, the way to get there was crystal clear.
"I knew exactly what my role was and I locked on it with so much focus and determination to not f--k around every day," Durant said. "And you've seen it. From workouts to practices, shootaround, film, and it made people outside look at me like, 'Hold on, is he enjoying this?' When I dive into something like that, with that level of focus, I don't want to be anywhere else in life. That's the most enjoyable experience I ever had after that first one."
"I played every game, I went hard every day, I cared about every matchup no matter who was on the floor, just my look didn't feel as open or energetic as before. But I like that. I like that I was closed off and focused on my work."
Getting sucked into work isn't a foreign concept to anyone who loves their job or has a big task at hand. There's no knock to Durant for that. Again, the Warriors likely would have another ring on their hand if not for Durant missing all but one quarter of the 2019 Finals. Durant sure knows it.
However, he also knows things -- including his emotions -- could have been handled differently.
"I maybe should have communicated that better to the people who were interested in knowing what I was going through," Durant conceded. "But I had the most fun locking in and completing the task because I knew we were going to lock in every night, and it's rare to get to that point as an NBA player. I just tried to focus in and stay in the moment more than anything."