Undeniable that Durant’s not unreliable

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com

VIDEO: Durant responds to newspaper headline

MEMPHIS – Mr. Unreliable was a lot less harsh with the newspaper than the newspaper was with him.

Hours after he was dubbed “Mr. Unreliable” in a banner headline in Thursday’s edition of The Oklahoman, Kevin Durant was actually Mr. Gracious. Told of the characterization by reporters that encircled him after the Thunder’s midday shootaround, Durant blinked for a moment while absorbing it, but did not push back.

“I’m unreliable? I don’t read the newspaper. But … me, Mr. Unreliable?” Durant said. “That’s what they said? Well, it’s all good, I don’t really care. It comes from my paper back at home. That’s what they’re supposed to write. I didn’t come through for the team. They’ve got to write that type of stuff.”

Actually, they don’t. That specific word didn’t appear in any of the Thunder writers’ stories but showed up in the headline process after the stories were filed.

Didn’t seem to matter to Durant regardless, after he scored 26 points in the 100-99 Game 5 loss Tuesday but shot 10-of-24 to get them. He had a turnover and a key missed 3-pointer late in the game, missed a free throw in the final minute of overtime and settled for another long shot rather than attack on OKC’s final possession.

“As a player, as a competitor, there’s going to be good and bad days,” said the player favored to be named the 2014 Most Valuable Player. “People are going to build you up or break you down. It’s all how you stay even-keel. I think that’s where I am. My teammates love me, my family loves me, so that’s all that really matters to me.”

Through six games, Durant has averaged 28.0 points but a career-playoff high 25.0 field-goal attempts, hitting just 40.0 percent of them. His 3-point accuracy is 28.6 percent, a personal low for any season or postseason. And his current PER of 18.1 pales next to his 26.0 mark in last year’s playoffs or 27.5 during the Thunder’s Finals run in 2012.

“It’s all about what have you done for me lately. I understand that,” Durant said.

Durant’s teammate Russell Westbrook, was quick to defend Durant. “That’s B.S. in my eyes,” Westbrook said. “One week ago you called him MVP. Now the next, you call him unreliable. That don’t make any sense to me.”

Durant’s coach Scott Brooks felt the same. “There’s a lot of things you can say about him. That wouldn’t be one of them. He’s as reliable as I’ve ever been around, any athlete. He’s there the first thing in the morning. He comes to work every day. To me, that’s reliable.”

The Grizzlies left the whole thing alone, talking instead about how feared Durant remains and no doubt blaming the OKC paper for providing bulletin-board material.

Even the sports editor of The Oklahoman, Mike Sherman, questioned the headline, backpedaling after some angry reaction to it both in the paper’s circulation area and nationally. It “missed the mark,” Sherman wrote, adding:

The words were overstated and unduly harsh. The headline and presentation left the impression that we were commenting on Durant’s season, career or even character. We were not. We were referring only to the Memphis series.

The fact the headline and presentation left that impression with so many readers is proof that we failed.

The uproar was reminiscent of the Orlando Sentinel‘s infamous reader poll back in 1996. The newspaper asked the public to weigh in on Shaquille O’Neal’s future with the Magic and wound up getting blamed when the free-agent big man left Orlando to sign with the L.A. Lakers.

Then again, if Durant were to have a big Game 6 Thursday and lead the Thunder back all the way in Game 7, he could savor the moment by doing this.


  1. Blog-So-Hard-2014 says:

    Kevin Durant should be averaging 35ppg, 10rpg, 7apg

  2. nbafan says:

    Drama headlines to get reactions out of people. I guess they succeeded but Durant is obviously the best.

  3. No Regrets says:

    How did u manage to fit 3 negatives in half a sentence in the title Stevie?

  4. OKc2014 says:

    Amazing win. Memphis in 7 games in okc2014. KD and MW will bolt out of there ASAP……………

  5. JuRa195 says:

    if KD leaves, thunder would be a laughingstock… they should support and cheer KD now more than ever….

  6. justme says:

    i love this site

  7. OKc2014 says:

    Mr. Unreliable, I think not! Mr. MVP, YES.. The chemistry is gone from the team a couple years ago and it is frustrating. Westbrook and Durant are playing now for future teams they will play for…………….. New city and the Rings will come………

  8. Tim says:

    Well this out to get KD a big city team and contract soon! Nice job no played anywhere journalist!!

  9. Bill says:

    Why is everybody talking about this nothing story?

  10. Immortality take it, it's yours!! says:

    If durant wins an MVP award however they lost the series to the Memphis …he doesn’t deserve it yet even if I’m one of his fans..

  11. Bird33 says:

    Some sports writers are just hacks. I hope their circulation suffers for pulling an obvious PR stunt like that.

    Given OKC is a small market and the type of star they have (talented and humble and probably gives them plenty of ink and time), they should be kissing his feet instead of slapping him in the face.

    Go KD! The old school fans – fans who cheer for players that let their game talk for them – are rooting for you.

    • Brian says:

      I just hope he knows that the fans don’t feel that way, Reporters are crazy, That was a low blow to a great person and player. I’ve been a fan since they moved to OKC. Love the team. KD is the best. Thunder UP

  12. Fredryk says:

    Blame Scott Brooks for the poor shooting..he played Durant 40mpg the last month of the regular season, for what? Spurs where miles ahead and I can see no big difference between 2nd and 3rd seed. That’s a factor against Tony Allen and the Grizz.

  13. KD-Fan says:

    I want to see how other teams do against the Memphis defence. At the end of the day it is an excuse to say that OKC and Durant are struggling because of the strong defence (maybe the strongest) by Memphis. However, it definitely is a contributing factor to the stats generated from this series, and any team that plays against Memphis will see a decline in their offence efficiency, if Memphis plays their usual solid defence.

  14. cp10 says:

    This kid Durant is the real deal, what a fierce competitor, has the heart of a Lion, beat Jordan’s old record. Sometimes gets out of rhythm but that happens to the best. Scary what talent he possesses. Stay healthy KD, all the way!!!

  15. Rico says:

    Funny how the sports editor tried to defend the post. lol
    one way to keep a superstar from leaving a small market team. lol

  16. Hmmm says:

    I hope he goes for 50 tonight. That will shut them up.

  17. Marcus says:

    There is a difference between unreliable and not doing well because you are facing one of the the top defenses in the league.

    Kevin Durant is reliable, it’s just that the Grizzlies are hounding him all game, making it tough for him to breathe.

  18. Blog-So-Hard says:

    The Thunder need Rondo… 2015…!!!

  19. thespectator says:

    yeah big game indeed…i somehow dont see okc beating this grizz team on their home floor, just dont see it happening…

  20. Alan says:

    Big game for Durant tonight.. Let’s go Thunder!