Kevin Durant had made himself a “villain” in Oklahoma City, disappointed a few NBA old-timers with his decision to join the Golden State juggernaut and, Charles Barkley said, he might not even get a championship ring for his trouble.
“Kevin Durant is a hell of a player, but he’s still going to shoot jumpers,” Barkley said Tuesday at TNT’s “Inside the NBA” media luncheon, where he reminded attendees that he called Golden State not winning the championship last year. “I told you they couldn’t play their little small ball and win a championship if every one [of their opponents] was healthy.”
“I still think they’ve got some of the same issues this year with that team. Can they rebound the ball? They’re still going to be shooting jumpers. They’re not going to get any post scoring. Can that type of play hold up to the rigors of the NBA playoffs? . . . No.”
Granted, the Warriors got within one win of making that a “Yes,” but Barkley stressed that their one championship — in 2015 — came primarily because their opponents were diminished by injuries. This year, he thinks both the Clippers and the Spurs have a shot at dethroning Stephen Curry and company in the west.
Barkley took exception to some of Durant’s recent comments when, perhaps in an effort to explain his decision, he appeared to take shots at his old team, the Thunder.
“Kevin Durant is not a villain but he’s making himself into a villain by taking all these shots at Oklahoma City for no reason,” he said. “There’s no reason for that. He left, he’s happy, shut up.”
Added Barkley: “We were disappointed. We were disappointed in Kevin. I’m not going to go crazy . . . We were disappointed when LeBron [James] did it” and left Cleveland to championship chase in Miami.
“These young guys, they get caught up . . . I know this for a fact. You don’t think LeBron felt more about winning that one in Cleveland than he did those two in Miami? . . . We knew that before he left. Winning in Miami is not the same as winning in Cleveland.”