Kevin Durant and JJ Redick talked about the “championship or bottoming out to build for a championship” nature of the league and LeBron James.
The NBA is a different league when compared to how it was even 10 years ago. It wasn’t long ago when many teams used to consider their season a success if they made it to the Playoffs and a big success if they made a deeper run.
Every team these days want a championship or to build a team that will win them a championship, even if it means they have to do it from scratch. Consider Kevin Durant’s former team Oklahoma City Thunder or one of the teams JJ Redick featured for, the Los Angeles Clippers, both in different ways took massive steps in the last two years to win a chip.
While OKC traded all its Superstar over the years searching for a championship and decided to rebuild from the bottom, Clippers went in for superstars like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George with many big-time role players to win now.
In their recent discussion on the Old Man and the Three podcast, Durant and JJ talked about the subject.
“You can’t necessarily point to one thing. Whether it’s player movement, teams not being loyal, everybody’s so hungry for a championship.” Redick said. “The discourse around what is a successful season and an unsuccessful season for nearly every team now is about a championship, or are we bottoming out to build for a championship. And so, the life cycle of teams is inherently going to be shorter.”
And when you talk about NBA championships you have to talk about LeBron James who has won the most among current players.
KD and JJ talk about championships, the longevity of LeBron James, and loyalty in the NBA these days
Redick, who himself played for championship-contending teams for the entirety of his career, talked to Kevin Durant, who himself has been leading his own championship teams for the last 12-years, about LeBron James.
“We haven’t seen a guy like LeBron (James) play at this level for this long, so, of course, there’s gonna be a life cycle to every team he’s on. There’s no John Stockton, Karl Malone duo that exists anymore. There’s no loyalty in this thing.” JJ said.
The Slim Reaper didn’t have a much different view about the subject either.
“I feel like, when you have a player that’s reached elite status in this game, where he can just control the game, that’s when you should go for it. You got the top-five player in the league. It’s like, ‘Alright, I know I have something to lean on at the end of games. Like, let’s build around this.”
That’s the exact breakdown of every teams’ mentality these days. It has led to NBA becoming far more competitive than it ever was. And the Play-in tournament has added extra enthusiasm and vigor to teams to perform.