The San Antonio Spurs get a lot of flack for being an “old team”, but their collective age didn’t stop them from knocking off the 2-time defending NBA Champion Heat this past Sunday night to claim the 2014 NBA Championship. Part of the reason the Spurs were able to put end to the Heat’s recent mini-dynasty is due to the emergence of one of their young guns.
Those of you who decided to skip this year’s NBA Finals over the fact that you were still bitter about the outcome of the 2014 Western Conference Finals may not yet be aware of, or have even heard of the young gun that stepped up his game in the face of being asked to contain LeBron James. He is the same young gun who was tasked with containing Kevin Durant in the Western Conference Finals, and did a better job than anyone else to that point. I’m sure those who did follow the Western Conference Finals closely are now all too aware of whom this paragraph is referencing.
For those of you still drawing a blank, the man in question is San Antonio Spurs starting small forward Kawhi Leonard.
Kawhi Leonard earned the NBA Finals MVP with one of the more dramatic turnarounds in Finals history. After scoring 9 points apiece in the first two games of the series, Leonard exploded for 20+ in each of the final three. That performance prompted a tweet from @TigeeDwayne that read:
“Im taking Leonard over Paul George all day and think Larry bird traded him for George hill lmao”
Disclaimer: This is not my tweet. If the bad punctuation bothers you, then that is an issue you need to take up with @TigeeDwayne.
Disclaimer aside, Kevin Durant must have been hanging out on Twitter at the time this tweet hit, because it seemed to hit a nerve with him. Although, the punctuation wasn’t where Durant was having his issue. He seemed to take issue with the assessment itself, using his Twitter account @KDTrey5 to counter with a simple:
“u trippin bro”
Final disclaimer: The punctuation of any and all Twitter quotes belongs to the people making the tweets. Therefore, any “Grammar Nazis” who are getting frustrated by these quotes need to focus their frustration on the people making the actual tweets.
I’m sure @TigeeDwayne was rather shocked to see Kevin Durant, of all people, respond to his tweet. So of course, he asks KD for clarification:
“u don’t think he can do work in Indiana?”
“no. He doing work like this because of the system. Put Paul George on the Spurs what would happen?”
The tweets have since been deleted.
In a way, I can see where Durant is coming from. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a coach in the league savvier than Gregg Popovich. In all honesty, I think Gregg Popovich is to the NBA what Bill Walsh was to the NFL. He’s basically the NBA’s premier basketball genius. There might be coaches in the league just as smart as Popovich, but I honestly don’t think there’s anyone currently coaching in the NBA with a higher “Basketball IQ” at this time.
But let’s be honest for a moment. While Leonard may not do one thing exceptionally well, he’s rather solid in every area of his game. While not the prolific scorer that Durant is, he’s easily a better defender. Once all was said and done, Leonard’s two-way skills and well-roundedness are what earned him the NBA Finals MVP trophy. And from the way his tweets came across, it seems like Durant is a little bitter about it.
If he is getting mad about it, maybe that’s what the Thunder need to get them over the hump. He plays like such a meek individual on the court at times, and I feel like if he would just get upset and put his foot down, he could easily assert his dominance over any opponent. Simply put, once Kevin Durant finally stops second-guessing himself and his abilities, that’s when the Thunder will get over the hump. Mark my words.