bondom34 wrote:michaelm wrote:Doctor MJ wrote:
I don't see any reason to think that a Harden-Durant duo couldn't have led the best offense in the league, and I think both guys would have been happy to play like that, so I can't quite agree.
I do think though that Durant was and is socially awkward in problematic ways. I think Westbrook always had a clarity about who he was and how he went about things and I have a feeling that that's why Durant wasn't really sure what to do when he got frustrated with the wasted possessions. You know that Westbrook is working his ass off, you know that he's not refusing to pass you the ball, so what exactly is the thing that you want? I don't think Durant ever knew. (Heck, does he know now?)
Since we're talking personalities and I'm generally a Harden guy, I feel I should say: Harden's a serious mixed bag of a personality himself. It appears that this was part of the reason the team was so sold on Westbrook over Harden and I appreciate that as a real factor to consider. If you really feel like Harden's not going to be happy as 3rd banana going forward, and you're much more comfortable with Westbrook not just as a player but as a professional, it makes sense to plan an exit for Harden.
Harden is a better point guard than Westbrook imo, and he and Durant together in their prime would have been unstoppable again imo, but this was revealed by that most powerful of instruments, the retrospectoscope, I think the stuff about there being no game plan beyond dual iso for Westbrook and Durant rings true, but KD seems to have decided to return to that game plan in teaming up with Kyrie anyway.
And actually this is true...now. But from 2013-16, when they would have been together wasn't. Going through again:
2013: Injury and Westbrook was the better player and PG.
2014: Same injury
2015: Harden was better....but Durant was injured.
2016: Harden's worst season, disappointing in both RS and PS.
From 2018-now Harden has been the better player no doubt, but that's looking at their current level and projecting it back along with health. So basically assuming everything is not only perfect but that Harden is suddenly better than he was. The issue with those teams was a mix of health and running into the Warriors. Harden wasn't fixing that, and now Westbrook playing at a level that was a top 5 player and being better at the time than Harden is forgotten which is kind of amazing. To add, Harden's greatest success has been when he's been even more ball dominant than Westbrook in those days and the complaint seems to be Durant needed all the shots.
We saw the Warriors lose when Durant got injured. The same would happen if it were Curry. OKC had the equivalent of that twice in 4 years with far worsie depth.
That is the other thing which again became obvious retrospectively, Harden is nothing if not robust, pretty much LeBron level robust.
I found Dr MJ’s analysis interesting, the part about KD not really knowing what he wanted from Westbrook in particular rang true for me, and I was pretty much unaware of how Westbrook played in college, he has always looked to have the tools to be a highly elite defensive player. I guess even with his athleticism you can’t do everything, and to me him getting tired with all that he does do at the end of big games has been a problem.