DALLAS — For a player toe-deep into what should be a colossal and potential Hall of Fame career, Thunder forward Kevin Durant has already piled up plenty to be proud of.
Back-to-back scoring titles, All-Star and All-NBA honors, a Rookie of the Year award, international acclaim (and a gold medal) and universal appeal as a breath of fresh air for fans and observers alike.
Yet his stumbles down the stretch in games during these Western Conference finals has suddenly cast a different light on him.
Suddenly, people are questioning his abilities as a finisher and as a leader. Some are suggesting that the 22-year-old Durant, as good as he is right now and could be in the future, is not yet the superstar he’s been made out to be.
This is, mind you, Durant’s first foray into the pressure cooker that is the conference finals. Had he mastered the moment at his young age we’d need to require a DNA sample to make sure he’s human. We understand here at the hideout (we’re a Western Conference finals mobile-command unit right now) that this is a part of the process.
So too does Durant’s first NBA coach, P.J. Carlesimo. He offers up an interesting defense of Durant, via my main man Dave D’Alessandro of the Star-Ledger, who offers up his own (and quite interesting) take on Durant’s current predicament: