Former Indiana Pacers guard Reggie Miller gave his input on superstar Kevin Durant‘s recent decision to sign with the already-talented Golden State Warriors. Miller spent all 18 of his seasons in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers from 1987 through 2005.
Perhaps the Indiana Pacers’ top player of all time is Reggie Miller. Through his 18 years in the NBA since being drafted with the 11th selection out of UCLA, Miller spent his entire career with the team that drafted him — The Pacers.
In today’s NBA, it is extremely rare to see a player stick it out with one team throughout the course of their careers, especially a player of high-caliber.
Early Monday evening, Kevin Durant announced that he would be signing with the Golden State Warriors on a two-year deal worth a little over $53 million.
Given that the Warriors already have Stephen Curry — the back to back and first unanimous MVP in NBA history — as well as Klay Thompson and Draymond Green — and Durant has taken immense heat for joining up with those three to form a super team. A lot of the criticism has come from fans of the league, but former players themselves have even criticized Durant for the move. Miller happens to be one of those former players.
Miller had this to say regarding Durant’s decision to join the 73-win Warriors team, per the Indianapolis Star:
"At the end of the day, what’s more important, rings or legacy? The media only cares about rings, and rightfully so,” Miller wrote. “We are judged on jewelry, so that’s why I can’t argue with it. From a personal standpoint, I’m upset that a small market will never recover from it."
Miller makes a good argument. Today, players are defined by how many championships that they win — whether it be with one team or multiple, no matter what other accomplishments the given player has achieved along the path of their respective career.
In Durant’s case, he has made a name for himself as one of the league’s top players since entering the league in 2007. However, he had made the Western Conference Finals multiple times, as well as one NBA Finals appearance during his time with the Oklahoma City Thunder — falling short of winning a title each time. In Durant’s shoes, the move is his better opportunity at a ring in order for him to cement his legacy at the end of the day.
On the other hand from a fan perspective, Durant’s move to the Warriors to form a ‘super team’ hurts the remainder of the league — mostly those small-market teams that Miller had suggested.
With the Warriors being a powerhouse out West, the competitiveness throughout the rest of the league is gone — with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Warriors themselves making the NBA look more and more like a two-team league more so than a 30-team one.
Miller also gave his input on how Durant would be perceived by those in Oklahoma City had he stayed throughout his career.
“Durant would have been a god if he stayed in Oklahoma City,” Miller writes. “People always say to me, ‘I’m so glad you stayed with us’ — that I stayed for 18 years with a small-market (Pacers) team in Indiana.”
While it would be wrong to completely knock Durant for making a move for his best interests of his own career, his legacy may in fact have taken a hit long-term with the decision.
It’s nice to see Miller preach about loyalty in a league where such a thing is of rare occurrence.
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