The typical NBA superteam is scary and exciting at the same time. The concept of some of the best players in the league teaming up is a harrowing thought for the rest of the league. However, it’s easy for fringe fans and fans of losing teams to hop on the bandwagon of historical greatness.
Kevin Durant might be the scariest player in the league right now because of how unstoppable he is. He has been the centerpiece of two superteams and can offer up all types of perspective on what kind of challenge it can be to mesh those egos.
He joined former NBA player JJ Reddick on the “The Old Man and the Three” podcast this week to talk about multiple topics, including superteams.
Kevin Durant has had an amazing career, and when he retires, he will not only be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but a top 10 player of all time. He is a two-time NBA champ, a league MVP, a four-time scoring champ, and a member of the 75th Anniversary Team.
He’s undoubtedly one of the greatest, and he’s had the unique experience of also playing with some of the greatest talent in NBA history. He’s teamed with the likes of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving. He was a cornerstone piece of several championship-caliber teams.
At this point in his career, Durantula, who has his own podcast (“The ETCs with Kevin Durant”), is THE authority on superteams. He was asked by JJ Redick about the inherent challenges that existed with superteams along the lines of roster-building and figuring out who gets the ball and when.
KD said it was a great advantage for him to play with other All-Stars. It actually made his job easier.
“We [Golden State] had — you wanna count Klay — three guys that can create their own shots. When you have three guys that can do that, you can pretty much pair them with anyone.”
KD also gave some insight into the collective culture of the Golden State dynasty. According to Durant, the whole team was locked in on winning, and especially because that Warriors team was coming off of a finals loss to the Cavaliers.
“When it comes to egos, we all on the same page as just really wanting to win. I know it sounds simple, but, like, that’s really what it was, every day is about ‘all right, how can we win this basketball game?’ Nothing else mattered.
“When I got to Golden State, from the first to the last guy thought that, but from the owner to the ball boy, they thought about it too.”
When asked about the biggest challenges that a superteam faces beyond the “title or bust” narrative, Durant alludes to money problems and integral role players leaving as the main reason for the Warriors’ superteam ending.
“The business gets in the way more than anything, we wanted to stay together as long as possible, but one guy might get paid, Shaun Livingston retired, I left in free agency, you know, so stuff like that happens.”
KD Joins Warriors: Game Over
KD was on the Warriors for three seasons, and during his time there he won two championships, while averaging 26 points per game. Golden State was dominant before he got there, but once KD arrived it was game over for the league, similar to when LeBron James formed The Big Three Miami Heat.
With KD in the fold, Dub Nation only lost 6 playoff games in 2 seasons, very well establishing themselves as one of the greatest superteams.
He infamously faced a lot of backlash but was able to capture that elusive championship that he couldn’t get during his eight years in Oklahoma City — and one in Seattle — with the Thunder/Sonics. Now that he has that monkey off his back he’s trying to win in Brooklyn with Kyrie.
The superteam with him, Kyrie, and Harden didn’t work out as they only played 16 games together (while going 13-3). Harden demanded a trade and was dealt to the Sixers shortly before Kyrie returned to his role as a full-time player. Some believe that the Nets are more balanced without Harden and if Ben Simmons can contribute to the team down the line the championship will be in play for a few more seasons.
But for right now, this makeshift Nets team featuring two Top 75-caliber players instead of three will have to focus on getting past the play-in and taking the long route to a championship.