When Kevin Durant first signed with the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 offseason, the entire basketball world was intrigued about whether Durant could adequately blend his talents with the Warriors stars who had already been playing together for years.
The team has won championships each season Durant has been in the lineup, making the great experiment a resounding success.
Despite all the individual and collective accolades, the process has not always been easy, and Steve Kerr elaborated on that struggle.
As a guest on The Lowe Post, Kerr revealed that he thought this past season was actually more difficult for Durant than his first season with the Warriors.
Kerr also said that while Durant and Stephen Curry never clashed personally, their playing styles on the court sometimes conflicted.
This is a fascinating revelation. According to Kerr, it sounds like the first year was more of a honeymoon period for Durant with his new team.
The novelty of joining a new team eventually wore off, though, and perhaps the grind of increasing expectations after that first successful season was especially difficult.
From all indications, Durant is an extremely thoughtful and introspective person, undoubtedly affected by the immense criticism he faced in his first year with the Warriors.
Since that criticism has dissipated somewhat relative to what it was that first year, it’s curious that the second year wasn’t more relaxing for him.
It’s also entirely possible that the physical grind of defending a championship with another deep playoff run contributed to difficulties this season.
Kerr also noted in the interview that it seemed like a tougher year for the team as a whole. The Warriors now have had 4 straight grueling seasons that went well into June. Numerous championship pursuits take a physical and mental toll.
There’s also the undeniable emotional fatigue that comes with having to fight to live up to the continued expectations attached to being on a team with such legendary talent.
Durant and the rest of his teammates should use this offseason to decompress a bit. They’ve earned the chance to relax and regroup after yet another incredible year.