As Finals Draw Near, Pressure on Durant to Deliver
May 30, 2017 | 5685 views | 0 0 comments | 302 302 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As discussed in last week’s column, the NBA Playoffs have been the worst I can ever remember leading into this year's NBA Finals.

That said, thank heaven the NBA Finals is upon us on Thursday evening.

The week layoff between the Conference Finals and the NBA Finals has brought a real Super Bowl-type hype that you usually experience at the beginning of February into early June.

Considering the sports world is about to prepare for Warriors-Cavaliers Round 3, it’s totally justified.

This series is everything you could want for a championship best-of-seven matchup.

It’s Ali-Frazier, it’s Yankees-Red Sox, and yes, it will remind the older basketball fan of Celtics-Lakers going back to Wilt and Russell and, of course, Magic and Larry.

As you prepare to watch without question the two best teams in the NBA go to battle, to me there is one storyline that stands out above the rest.

Yes, you have Lebron chasing the ghost of Michael Jordan. Yes, the Warriors choked away a 3-1 series lead a year ago.

But the storyline that I think deserves the most attention is without a doubt the arrival of Kevin Durant to the Warriors-Cavaliers rivalry.

The Warriors shocked the basketball world back in the summer by signing Kevin Durant away from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

It was a move that received heavy scrutiny and put Durant front and center when it comes to the limelight on the grand stage.

Durant left Oklahoma City for Golden State to get to this point. He believed new teammates, a budding dynasty, and his outstanding ability would be the ingredient to get the Warriors back over the top.

So far, so good.

Durant has fit like a glove in his first season in the Bay Area. He’s had no problems fitting in with two-time MVP Stephen Curry, sharpshooter Klay Thompson and jack-of-all-trades Draymond Green.

Durant has played with confidence, he’s played with swagger, and has embraced the role of the villain much easier than Lebron James did in his first season as a member of the Miami Heat.

Everything has gone according to plan for Durant in his first season with the Warriors, but that narrative can change rather quickly.

For most NBA fans, including this sports radio host, Kevin Durant needs to deliver in the NBA Finals and help bring a championship back to the Golden State Warriors in order to validate his decision.

He is the player that without question has the most to gain and lose in this series.

Lebron? He’s only one of the greatest players of all time, plus he has already delivered a championship for his home city.

Curry? He’s already won two MVP’s and an NBA title.

Durant is the hired gun. He’s the mercenary that was brought in to take the Golden State Warriors back to the promise land.

He’s never won an NBA championship. He’s never defeated Lebron James in a postseason series.

He’ll have a ton of help, but it’s time for Kevin Durant and his star-studded team to deliver.

A victory in the NBA Finals and Durant will enjoy the summer knowing he is no longer the best player in the league not to win a title.

However, a series loss will only intensify the scrutiny for one of the best players in the league going into next season and beyond.

This is what Durant signed up for by joining the Warriors. Now it’s time to deliver.

JJ’s Pick: With too many weapons and better perimeter defense, the Warriors will win in six. You can listen to me on Sunday from 1 to 6 a.m. & Monday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on WFAN Sports Radio 660/1019 FM.

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