Kevin Durant Says Russell Westbrook, Thunder Were Less Skilled
Kevin Durant said that Russell Westbrook and the Thunder were less skilled than the Golden State Warriors in a recent interview.
Appearing on the Showtime Basketball “All The Smoke” show with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Durant was asked why he ultimately left Oklahoma City for Golden State.
Durant’s decision to depart from the Thunder and join the Warriors was always a very controversial one. Many believed he should have stuck around in Oklahoma City and helped them beat the Warriors, rather than simply jumping ship and joining the opposition.
That said, Durant’s decision netted him two championships and two NBA Finals MVPs – so it is hard to fault him too much for what transpired.
In Durant’s own words, the main reason why he left is because the Thunder possessed a lack of skilled players. And apparently he felt that was a hinderance to getting to where he eventually wanted to be career-wise.
“In OKC I played with a lot of athletes, I didn’t play with a lot of skilled guys, not like shooters, ball handlers,” he said.
“So after a while, my game started to grow, I was like ‘I need a change’. This was before the season even started.
“I was like I’m going to play out my season as hard as I can. I’m not telling anyone I want to leave, I’m not packing in — I’m trying to win as much as we can. That was my thinking going into the year,” he continued.
Kevin Durant shares his reasoning behind leaving the Thunder for the Warriors. pic.twitter.com/KexrlZQURX
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 8, 2020
Essentially, Durant was tired of the workload that had been forced upon him because of the way that the Thunder’s roster was constructed.
“I was tired of playing in that system,” he continued.
“I was tired of having to be the only guy that can make threes, make jumpshots — consistently make them.”
What is most revealing and interesting about Durant’s comments is that his slight against the Thunder was the same slight others had against the team. That Westbrook’s game relied too much on athleticism.
That OKC lacked the skills necessary to truly compete for a title. As a member of the organization Durant always claimed those things were untrue, but as soon as he left he admitted that they were in fact the case.