Trouble in Paradise? Kevin Durant Takes a Verbal Shot at Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr

Updated: March 9, 2019
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With the exception of blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals, it’s been smooth sailing for the Golden State Warriors over the past four-plus seasons: three NBA championships and a good chance at a fourth this June.

Steve Kerr has been at the helm of a dynasty that has been devoid of drama. The Warriors emit a loose, fun atmosphere as they rack up wins and championships. There’s no Kobe vs. Shaq-type quarreling in Oakland.

But after a 33-point blowout defeat at home to Boston this week marked the Warriors’ fifth loss in eight games, signs of frustration bubbled up in postgame press conferences

Kerr, commenting about the game where his team committed a season-high 22 turnovers, said, “It starts with a passion, and an anger, and an intensity, and it wasn’t there tonight.”

Next, it was free agent-to-be Kevin Durant’s turn with reporters. He was asked his thoughts on Kerr’s comments, and Durant appeared to take a measured shot at his head coach.

“I thought we move off joy?” Durant asked, referring to how Kerr usually discusses his team’s style on and off the court. “Now it’s anger? OK. I disagree with that one. I think all around, top to bottom, coaches, players, we just gotta be better.”

A reporter later tried to ask a question about defense, and he prefaced it with a statement that one of the reasons Durant joined the Warriors prior to the 2016-17 season was due to defensive-minded assistant coach Ron Adams.

At that point, Durant interrupted by saying, “We’re still talking about me coming here?”

It’s fair to theorize that Durant is still bothered by the perception that he took the easy way out by joining the Warriors (who were coming off an NBA record 73 regular season wins) instead of trying to lead his former team, Oklahoma City, to a championship.

Despite pulling his weight by winning NBA Finals MVP awards in both of his championship appearances with the Warriors since then, it’s also fair to wonder if Durant is thinking about moving on this summer and add to his legacy by trying to win a championship as the main leader and superstar on a different team.

While previous versions of the Cleveland Cavaliers showed us that regular season struggles can usually be dismissed come playoff time, there are some alarming statistics in Golden State.

One stat shows that their defense may not be able to bail them out if the team goes through a rough shooting night.

The Warriors were held to under 100 points for the seventh time this season in the loss to Boston, and Golden State dropped to 0-7 in such games.

The recent 3-5 stretch has allowed upstart Denver to close within one game in the race for home-court advantage throughout the Western Conference side of the playoffs.  It’s also allowed both Milwaukee and Toronto to pull ahead in the East, which would give those teams the home-court edge in potential NBA Finals matchups.

Still, Golden State stepped up when it mattered last postseason by winning Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals in Houston, and they certainly would be heavy favorites against any team from the East in the Finals, no matter where the games are played.

This is likely a small bump in the road that is the long regular season, but for a team that has seemingly fired on all cylinders for almost half a decade, any small chink in the armor is up for scrutiny.

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