Kevin Durant wanted to win a title too much last season.
“Last year, I was obsessed with it,” Durant recently told The Oklahoman. “Like, I wasn’t going to sleep because I wanted to win so bad. I was screaming at my teammates, at the refs, at the coaches. I got mad because I thought, ‘if we have a bad game here, we’re not going to win a championship.”
Durant and the Thunder were eliminated by Memphis in five games of last season’s Western Conference semifinals, but it’s hard to find fault in what Durant did, averaging nearly 28.8 points, 10.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists in nearly 46 minutes per game. The bigger story of the playoffs was the struggles the Thunder endured after point guard Russell Westbrook went down with a knee injury in the first round against Houston.
Durant did get called for 12 technicals during the regular season. However, he averaged 28.1 points per game as well as 7.9 rebounds. Durant shot better than 50 percent from the field, better than 40 percent on 3-pointers and led the league in free-throw shooting at better than 90 percent.
But all of the eye-popping stats couldn’t help the Thunder from winning only five playoff games, and didn’t exactly put Durant’s mind at ease at night.
“I was going home and I would get so mad over the small stuff,” Durant said to The Oklahoman. “That’s not me. I was losing myself over what people though, what other people thought.
“I’m not going to let that overtake my mind. Of course, I want to win it, but I’m not obsessed with it. I’m going to put in the work to help my team, but I’m not going to be obsessed with it because that’s when I compromise myself.”