The Golden State Warriors' convincing win over the Brooklyn Nets could be considered "just another game." The match-up did present many exciting storylines, such as the pre-season title favorites versus the current ones or the two deadliest offensive teams in the history of the NBA playing against each other. But most importantly, it was about the two best players in the league right now, who happen to be former teammates, going against each other.
Another great performance by Chef Curry
Durant and Curry have faced each other since KD elected to leave Golden State in Free Agency of 2019, but injuries to the Warriors have made them less competitive in the past two seasons. Now, Curry was ready to go up against KD with a squad of his own. Curry did not disappoint, hitting nine three-pointers en route to 37 points for the game. While Durant struggled from the field in the second half, finishing with 19 points as he failed to hit a single shot after halftime. Even the best players have off nights, and while most consider KD the best player in basketball right now, Stephen A. Smith shared a valuable takeaway from this game that speaks volumes of how the basketball world sees Durant.
"KD is a superstar, so is Steph. The difference is, Steph is a better leader."
Trouble in paradise for Brooklyn
To hear someone say this about Durant can seem absurd, a two-time NBA Finals MVP and a regular-season MVP, Durant has been the first option on a contender ever since he started to reach the peak of his powers. Who could forget the performances he put on during last year's playoffs? Playing every minute of certain playoff games, making big shot after big shot, it seems nearly blasphemous to question his leadership. However, looking at how Brooklyn has performed against the better teams in the league so far, it's clear that there is trouble in paradise.
"KD was in Oklahoma City, there was a struggle of leadership between him and Russell Westbrook. KD goes to Golden State, clearly didn't have to be the leader. KD followed Kyrie to Brooklyn. He's never shown that he's the guy that will carry a franchise on his shoulders."
Kevin Durant is the best scorer ever to play the game of basketball, but one can't help but wonder if his brilliance is confined to what happens between the lines. Smith brings up KD's success as a player and how it has not necessarily involved leading a team beyond his on-court play. Durant has had a natural leader around him at every stop along the way to help shoulder the load. Today, he is faced with the challenge of trying to pick up the pieces from the Kyrie Irving debacle so that he can steer his team into the realm of championship contention. Whether or not it's KD's fault, James Harden seems disinterested in the Nets' plight right now.
Durant needs to get rest of team more involved
On the other hand, Curry is working with Draymond to rally a team of young talent that is starting to learn how to play NBA Basketball. The difference in their leadership styles was evident Tuesday night, with the Warriors on a string, sharing the ball, and playing with smiles on their faces, while the Nets looked lost and in search of a leader. The Nets' struggles may have nothing to do with KD's play on the court, but now that they are no longer overwhelmingly more talented than everybody else, Durant will have to find a way to get more out of the rest of the Nets. When complete, the Nets are still the most lethal team in basketball, but getting them whole is a job for Durant, and history suggests that he may not be up to the task.