Does the Brooklyn Nets superteam complicate Kevin Durant's legacy?
When an athlete reaches the professional mountaintop multiple times, the discussion of legacy often comes into play.
Since being selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, Durant has been named an 11-time All-Star and a nine-time All-NBA selection. He was the NBA's MVP in 2014 and was named NBA Finals MVP for both of the championships he won with the Golden State Warriors (2017, 2018).
Throw in two Olympic gold medals for good measure, and you have one of the greatest players to ever pick up a basketball.
While Durant's status as one of the greatest players in NBA history cannot be questioned, there appear to still be questions about just how great he is. Those questions seem based more on where Durant has played and whom he has played with than how he's played.
After his Oklahoma City Thunder squad blew a 3-1 series lead to the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 Western Conference finals, Durant signed with the Warriors to form one of the most dominant teams in NBA history.
Along with two-time league MVP Stephen Curry and fellow All-Stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, Durant formed the nucleus of a Warriors team that played in three consecutive NBA Finals from 2017 to 2019, winning back-to-back titles in 2017 and '18.
With four All-Stars all in their primes, it was seen as a foregone conclusion that those Warriors would win the title every year that they played together.
That was almost the case until Durant tore his Achilles in Game 5 of the 2019 Finals against the Toronto Raptors, followed by Thompson's ACL tear in Game 6.
Now Durant's talents have landed him in Brooklyn, where the Nets have built a superteam of their own.
Those three, along with former All-Stars Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge, have some pundits declaring that this Nets superteam will only make Durant's legacy harder to gauge. The reason? Durant has surrounded himself with such an overwhelming amount of talent that it's difficult to judge his impact.
One person making that argument is FS1's Emmanuel Acho, who explained his stance on "Speak For Yourself."
"It makes me just ask myself this: 'KD, how come all of the squads you're joining or all of the players you are recruiting have to be previous All-Stars for you to get it done?'"
Although Durant (when healthy) is clearly the most accomplished player on the Nets' roster, the team has been able to stay afloat — and even thrive — in his absence.
Durant has played in just 19 of 122 possible games since he signed with Brooklyn. The team made the playoffs in 2020 without him playing a single game, and the Nets are 31-15 this season, with him having missed 27 games because of injury and health and safety protocols.
There has even been chatter about Harden potentially winning a second MVP award for his play in Durant's absence.
Those numbers suggest that Durant might not be needed as badly as previously presumed for the Nets to have success this season.
But FOX Sports NBA insider Chris Broussard believes that all of the outside noise is simply that. He believes Durant is still the Nets' best player and deserves his share of credit if the Nets win a championship.
As for Durant, he seems content with his standing, knowing that no matter what he is aiming to accomplish, he will need the help of others.
As long as he is content with his legacy, who are we to question it?