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The Evolution of Pressure on Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant has been in the public sports eye for a very long time. Durant was the number two ranked player in the country coming out of high school. So, he was expected to be great immediately in college. He lived up to those expectations. Which lead to him being the second overall pick in the NBA draft.

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After being such a high pick in the draft, he has had high expectations for most of his career. How has those expectations around Durant changed throughout his career?

Setting the Standard

Kevin Durant was drafted by the Seattle Super Sonics who later became the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder were a young team with Russell Westbrook and James Harden. The young Thunder exceeded expectations and made it to the NBA Finals in Durant’s third year.

The Thunder came up short in those NBA Finals. So, it was now expected for OKC to be in the Finals year in and year out. Durant was set to be the leader of this dynasty. That’s a lot of pressure.

They were title contenders each year with a healthy Durant but were never able to get back to the Finals. This ultimately lead to Durant leaving in free agency to join the Golden State Warriors.

Overwhelming Favorites

When the former Texas Longhorn joined the Golden State Warriors, it was championship or bust. The Warriors won back to back championships. Durant won Most Valuable Player of the finals in back to back years.

Durant did not get the credit that most winners of the finals MVP award get. Fans and pundits alike admit to Durant’s amazing talent but saw his rings with Golden State as less than.

After an incident with Draymond Green. It was inevitable that Durant would leave the Warriors.

Back of the Bus

Kevin Durant left Golden State and joined Kyrie Irving with the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets were expected to win multiple rings after trading for James Harden. Due to a mixture of injuries and bad chemistry the Nets didn’t make it passed the second round of the playoffs. This started the “Bus Driver” talk that Durant needs to win as the “Lead Dog” of his team.

Durant demanded a trade away from the Brooklyn Nets and found himself playing along side Devin Booker here in Phoenix.

Another Big 3

Going into this season the Suns are one of the favorites in the western conference. Kevin Durant shares the brunt of those expectations with Booker and Bradley Beal. Is this the year that Durant gets that championship outside of Golden State?

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