LBS- Durant told Anthony Slater of the Mercury News that he believes James Harden could have thrived in a sixth man role with the Thunder had he not been traded to Houston.
“I think he’d have stayed in that role. I think so,” Durant said. “He’d have still been a really great player. You look at it, a lot of people wouldn’t have looked at him as a Sixth Man. He’d have been better. I think he’d have been better. Obviously I’m sure he loves what he’s doing now, but if we would’ve won a championship, I think the perception of him would’ve just been as a great player. ‘He’s the heart, he’s what makes us go.’ That’s what his label would’ve been, instead of just Sixth Man. He would’ve probably been the best Sixth Man that ever was.”
Pretty groundbreaking realization from Kevin Durant here. The guy who is one of the early favorites to win the MVP award during the NBA's most talented era ever would have flourished playing the bulk of his minutes against backups. Who woulda thunk it?!? I didn't know I would be doing this today, but I think this calls for a definite Top 10 list of players that would make a huge impact off the bench...
Now, regulating any of those players to the bench seems excessively counterproductive to winning games and wouldn't come anywhere close to fully utilizing their talents, but I'll be damned if it wouldn't guarantee them a '6th Man Of The Year' award!
Obviously I know what Kevin Durant means, but once you say it out loud doesn't it sound insanely stupid? James Harden may have won a championship if he wasn't shipped out of Oklahoma City, but he wouldn't be a "better player" if he was picking up whatever statistical scraps Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant left behind. Of course, in retrospect, James Harden would be the best role player that ever lived if he was fulfilling a role that was ridiculously beneath him. In fact, I'm surprised it took the guy that bolted to the winningest team of all time after choking away a 3-1 lead to them until now to piece that thought process together.