They were one of the best teams ever assembled, and in an instant, it changed. For us, the moment happened in a November game against the Clippers. Draymond didn't pass the ball to KD to win the game, and then this happened.
That was just a culmination of something that happened in mid-June that year, about half a year before the infamous Clippers game. The Warriors finished a gentleman's sweep of the Cavs for their second title in a row with Kevin Durant as Finals MVP. Everyone thought KD was at the top of the world - a two-time champion and a two-time Finals MVP. But, the thin-skinned superstar wasn't happy.
“In my opinion, he got the best of 'Bron [in the 2017 Finals], like Kevin was fuc**** in rocking. After that, that was kind of that moment of like, damn Kevin should be the best player in the NBA now because of what he just did to LeBron. And it's like, you turn on the TV the next day, and the fuc**** headline is, 'LeBron James still best player in the world?' You've got Stephen A. [Smith], you've got all these people debating it, and everybody's still saying LeBron James is the best player in the world. That's when I kind of felt like it took a turn. And then we came back for the 2017-18 season, and Kevin just wasn't as happy.”
Draymond Green, CBS Sports
Durant always craved a lot of outside confirmation. As much as he talks about not caring, KD's actions speak louder than words. From his burner account to his numerous contradictions, it's obvious winning isn't enough for him. When the Warriors returned to start the chase for a third consecutive title, KD was different.
“All of a sudden it was kind of just like, 'F---, why's Steph shooting this shot?' or 'F---, he ain't pass the ball' or 'Why's Klay shooting this shot?' or 'Why he ain't pass the ball?' And I'm just sitting there like, 'Yo, that's the same Klay and Steph I've always played with. Like, they ain't playing no different than they've always played.'”
Draymond Green, CBS Sports
Draymond took issue with Durant's attitude. Do Steph and Klay sometimes have tunnel vision? Sure they do. Can you blame them? Two of the greatest shooters in the history of the game take shots most players should pass up because, for them, those are great shots. It wasn't just the fact KD was in a bad mood, taking his frustrations out on innocent bystanders. We all take a few hits from teammates, friends, or family once in a while.
But KD started to complain about the essence of Warriors basketball. That's the point Sherwood Strauss described in his book. Durant was convinced the media was sucking up to Steph, and he was the victim in the process. That's how KD rationalized the fact he can never be the fan favorite to the level Steph and Klay are in Golden State. And if he can't be more popular than Steph and Klay, how's he ever going to be more acclaimed than LeBron?
As we age, priorities change. Maybe the Brooklyn KD evolved and isn't as sensitive as he was. When you think about it, pairing up with Kyrie was a brilliant move - there's no way he's the less liked superstar in that relationship.