Golden State Warriors

Would a Warriors title damage Kevin Durant's legacy?

May 30

Entering this season, the Golden State Warriors had won three championships in a seven-year stretch — two with Kevin Durant, one without him.

Now, they're looking to make it four in eight years. And if they win this season's title without Durant, his name will undoubtedly still be in the conversation.

After the Warriors clinched a Finals berth by defeating the Dallas Mavericks in five games in the Western Conference finals, Nick Wright, Chris Broussard and former NBA All-Star Antoine Walker considered whether Durant's legacy would take a hit if Golden State won another title without him.

And the group found itself split.

Kevin Durant's legacy in question with Warriors returning to Finals?

The crew decides whether the Warriors winning another title without Durant is a knock on KD's legacy.

"If this core — Steph [Curry], Klay [Thompson] and Draymond [Green] — won a title before him and now are back in the Finals in the same year Durant lost in Round 1, being the only team swept in the playoffs, one could say these playoffs went as poorly as possible for Durant," Wright said.

While Wright made it clear that he believes a Golden State Finals berth is already disastrous for Durant, Broussard said the only way KD's legacy would take a hit is if the Warriors won the championship.

"They're just back to where they were before Kevin Durant went there," Broussard said. "If they don't win a championship, I don't think it would reflect too poorly on Durant. They'd probably say, 'OK, they beat a Denver team that was banged up and didn't have their second or third-best players. They beat a Memphis team that was young and lost their best player midway through the series, and then they beat a Dallas team that was young and just had one star.'

"If they win, it'll really begin to look bad for Durant. … You can't emphasize how bad the decision to leave Golden State and go to Brooklyn was, basketball-wise, if the Warriors win the championship."

Durant's time in Golden State was dramatic in every sense of the word. 

The Warriors acquired KD prior to the 2017 season after they came back from a 3-1 deficit against Durant's Oklahoma City Thunder in the West finals just months before.

With Durant, Golden State cruised to title victories in 2017 and 2018, with KD winning Finals MVP on both occasions. 

The Warriors then made it to the Finals once again in Durant's third year, but they fell short to the Toronto Raptors after both Thompson and Durant suffered major injuries in the Finals.

But amid those title runs, Durant infamously fought (verbally) with Green, and current Golden State general manager Bob Myers joked about Durant's future with the team, all of which pointed to an underlying concern about KD's fit with the franchise.

Considering the level of success that Durant had in Golden State, Walker believes that even if the Warriors win it all this season, it has no bearing on Durant's time in the Bay Area.

Instead, Walker is stuck wondering what could have been for "The Slim Reaper."

"I don't think anything Golden State does moving forward is a reflection of Kevin Durant," Walker said. "I don't believe the Warriors win those two titles without KD. 

"This is more about how KD feels sitting at home when he could've been working on a fourth or fifth title."

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