Updated: Dec 5, 2020
Kevin Durant has "his" team, for the first time since Oklahoma City
The 2020-21 NBA season kicks off on December 22nd, when the Golden State Warriors will become reacquainted with superstar Kevin Durant, but this time, he'll be on the other end of the floor. Durant signed a four year, $164,000,000 contract with the Brooklyn Nets back in July of 2019, but missed the 2019-20 season due to an Achilles injury he suffered during the 2019 NBA Finals. Durant makes his long awaited Brooklyn debut three weeks from now, when his Brooklyn Nets take the court.
I emphasize his Brooklyn Nets, because for the first time since his days in an Oklahoma City Thunder uniform, KD is the leader of a team. It was Kevin Durant's Thunder, they are Kevin Durant's Brooklyn Nets... But one thing that many speculated was a huge reason for KD's departure from the Golden State Warriors, was that it was always considered Steph Curry's Warriors.
Despite averaging 25.8 points per game, 5.8 assists, and 7.1 rebounds in three seasons with the Warriors, despite helping lead the Golden State Warriors to back to back NBA Championships in 2017 and 2018, despite winning two Finals MVP awards in those back to back championship years, the Golden State Warriors were never seen as "KD's Warriors," and I'm sure that irked him in one way or another.
Why would they be KD's Warriors, though? Steph Curry was their homegrown guy. Curry was drafted by the Warriors with the seventh pick in the 2009 NBA draft, and he's been their superstar ever since. He helped put Golden State on the map. After 39 years of mediocrity and failure, Curry helped draw the blueprint for Golden State's 2015 championship, the Warriors' first NBA title since 1976.
When Kevin Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016 and signed with the Warriors as a free agent, he was already joining an established team, fresh off of a championship, and well on their way to another. The Warriors were never going to be Durant's, so long as Curry was on the roster. Durant gave up being the face of a franchise when he made the decision to leave Oklahoma City.
But now, in 2020, of all years to have a comeback season, Kevin Durant is making his return as the face of a franchise. How does Kyrie Irving feel about this? I'm sure both KD and Kyrie would think that this "face of the franchise" talk is a bunch of nonsense, because at the end of the day, if the Nets are able to capture a championship in the near future, neither KD nor Kyrie will be able to hoist the trophy without the other's help. You can't have one without the other, but I think it is safe to assume that most of the media and the fanbase sees Kevin Durant as the current face of the Brooklyn Nets.
For years now, since he signed with Golden State in 2016, Kevin Durant has been the brunt of many jokes, and a lot of hate. Many would go as far as to accuse him of ruining the league by creating an unstoppable super team, calling him a snake, a sell out, and discrediting the two championships he helped win. The public doesn't hold Kyrie Irving in high regard, either. After his tumultuous tenure with the Boston Celtics, the media and the fans have deemed Irving as selfish, hard to work with, and a prima donna. Both KD and Kyrie have a lot to prove this season, and what better way to silence the critics than to go out and win a championship? That's exactly what the two superstars plan to achieve.
The Brooklyn Nets will open up the NBA season with a primetime game against the Golden State Warriors in Brooklyn, on December 22nd at 7:00 PM on TNT, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers facing off against the Los Angeles Clippers at 10:00 PM. One thing is for sure, the NBA is bringing out the big guns for opening night, and NBA fans shouldn't be disappointed.
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Happy NBA season, basketball fans!