Oklahoma's main newspaper rips Kevin Durant

Oklahoma's main newspaper rips Kevin Durant
May 1, 2014, 11:00 am
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If you're one of those Washington Wizards fans who dreams about Kevin Durant returning home to join forces with the local NBA team - which is all of you - this headline out of the Thursday's The Oklahoman is for you.

If you're the type that gets excited about the idea of the team owner sitting courtside in a Durant-35 Wizards jersey, then read the first three paragraphs of the story that goes with the headline (This also assumes you're cool with drooling in front of your co-workers and have cushioned support for when your jaw drops even more).

"Joey Crawford came sprinting at Kevin Durant, blowing a whistle and waving arms and the bright lights of Chesapeake Arena shining off Crawford’s bald head, and Durant surely must have thought only one thing.

"No sanctuary even at the foul line. Even with the clock stopped, Tony Allen sends a demon to bedevil the NBA’s presumptive most valuable player.

"Allen is inside Durant’s head. Durant is dazed and confused. Hesitant and docile. The Memphis Doberman has turned Durant into mere mortal this Western Conference playoff series. The Thunder is on the brink of elimination, and if Durant doesn’t return to something approaching the Slim Reaper in Game 6 Thursday night, Grim Sleeper is going to be more like it."

Oh, my. 

Just to clarify, we're discussing the same Kevin Durant who is almost certain to win the 2013-14 NBA Most Valuable Player award. Also the same Kevin Durant who scored a league-best 32 points a game this season and led the NBA in scoring four of the last five years.

Yes, the Kevin Durant who is only 25 years old, who made an NBA outpost like Oklahoma City relevant and is the most universally well-liked player in the entire league.

So, why the haymakers? Well, the Thunder trail the Memphis Grizzlies 3-2 in what projected as a challenging first round series. Durant's missed free late free throws including one with the Thunder trailing 100-99 with 27 seconds left in overtime of Game 5. "Mister Automatic. Now he’s unreliable." columnist Berry Tramel wrote.

Though he's averaging 28 points in the series, Durant is shooting 40 and 28 percent respectively overall and from the 3-point arc. That's down from his 51 and 39 percent clips during the regular.

The possible close out game in Memphis. Should the second-seeded Thunder lose this series, Durant deserves criticism. That goes with the territory of any superstar falling short of expectations. Sometimes I've wondered whether he has the Eye of the Tiger, but again, 25. 

Of course, the same article doesn't mention that Durant's tag-team partner and noted ill-timed shooter Russell Westbrook is 7 of 38 from beyond the arc - and clanking without Tony Allen's constant presence. Westbrook is shooting 34 percent overall for the series.  

This article doesn't mention whether coach Scott Brooks is the issue - Westbrook's brother recently said yes, yes he is - even there is some debate as to whether he's coaching to keep his job.

Here's another issue with hammering Durant: The series isn't over.

Here's one more: Durant's contract expires after the 2015-16 season. If KD walks, how many other superstars are walking back in to OKC? Money is money, but as they say about the key in real estate, it's all about location, location, location.

Also, Dirk Nowitzki lost in the first round the season he was named MVP. He led the Dallas Mavericks to the NBA title four years later.

Now, none of this means the Seat Pleasant native would come home and play for the Wizards.

"I haven't given it any thought," is what Durant said when I asked him about doing just that when the Thunder visited the Verizon Center on February 1. "Growing up here, taking the train to down to Gallery Place, Chinatown to come watch these games as a kid, I never really thought about coming home to play. I love Oklahoma City. I love coming here and visiting. Hopefully...we can get a win tonight. That's all I'm thinking about."

Assuming Durant catches sight or wind of the "Mr. Unreliable" headline and in the context of his future, perhaps the soon-to-be-named MVP will start thinking about something - or somewhere else.