Yes, Kevin, we know that all this talk about your pre-agency annoys you. We also know that you think you are not getting enough attention. So in advance, I apologize for not talking enough and talking too much. Don’t shoot the messenger, it was Pippen who spoke.
On the latest episode of The Jump, Windhorst asked Pippen what would he, with his experience being on a super-team, advise KD to do this summer. Scottie has no doubt in his mind:
I would tell him to go off and do it on his own because I think he is capable of leading a team on his own. I think he is capable of leading a championship by himself, with another player. KD is the best player in the league right now. I truly think that he’s there. He’s been there for a few years but I think he’s been kind’ of sheltered because he came into a situation where he didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes or anything like that. He can push forward or he can push back, and we’re seeing the KD that push forward.
The KD that’s pushing forward refers to Durant averaging 48 points, 10 rebounds and 7.3 assists in last three games. Yes, this is the smallest of sample sizes but is a window into KD playing on a team where he is the undisputed main option.
I can understand Pippen’s point of view and the desire for him to see KD as the obvious main guy on a team. The league obviously wants KD to leave so more parity is established in the league. But is it the best thing for him?
You can’t win on your own today (that’s why Scottie immediately corrected himself “On his own, with another guy”), but the question remains can he find a situation where he will be the clear cut no.1 guy and have enough support to be a contender? Depends on how much will his vanity kick in.
We know KD looks up to LeBron and emulates his career. Narrative plays a big role here and KD still hasn’t received the praise he believes he deserves, in large part because he joined the Warriors after the beat OKC. (There also a high probability anything except blind adoration is not good enough for him). So going to NYC, a dysfunctional organization and one of the biggest markets in the world would be a great narrative. But, KD and New York media? Maybe phycological support is the next big thing in the NBA. Scottie’s advice is predicated on another interesting point of view about where KD is coming from.
He’s always been the second guy. Even when he played in OKC, he was behind Westbrook. Westbrook may miss a few games here and there and you get some flashes. He’s getting flashes now because Steph is out. When Steph comes back he’s gonna have to pull back a little bit. Does KD really want to be that guy that’s pulling back or he wanna be that guy that’s coming out every night, and you gotta deal with him?
I’d say it is more likely he will leave than stay, mostly because I think in the end his vanity will overpower rational thought. He should stay, but he will probably leave. Then when he gets criticized there will be a “Whatever I do, you are not happy with me!! Not that I care.”