Former NBA Champion goes in on Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns have faltered as of late, with this former NBA Champion taking the opportunity to place a lot of the blame on Kevin Durant.
Phoenix Suns v Milwaukee Bucks
Phoenix Suns v Milwaukee Bucks / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

The month of March has been a rough one so far for the Phoenix Suns. They're 5-5 during that stretch - with an encouraging overtime win over the Denver Nuggets being followed by sobering losses to the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks - and look disjointed ahead of the playoffs.

At this point they may not even escape the play-in tournament, despite having their three best players in Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal healthy and playing together. For all of the negativity around Beal and his health at times this season, there is no doubt he has been an x-factor for the organization recently.

In the eyes of former NBA Champion turned TV personality Kendrick Perkins however, the same absolutely cannot be said of Durant right now.

Perkins and Durant were one-time teammates with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but the outspoken center has taken shots at Durant in the past. So deciding to have another go at the Suns' superstar is not surprising, although what may come as a surprise is the fact Perkins might just be speaking a bit of sense on this one, as he went on national television to start the week and said;

"The film don't lie... last night's game (loss to the Bucks), look at Kevin Durant. We're talking about arguably the greatest scorer to ever touch the damn basketball. Not involved in the offense."

Kendrick Perkins on Kevin Durant

Perkins has a point here, as Durant finished the loss to the Bucks - a game in which his team gave up 82 points in the first-half without Giannis Antetokounmpo playing - with a paltry 11 points while shooting 4-of-10 from the field and 1-of-3 from deep. Two nights earlier it was a similar story in a win over the Charlotte Hornets, Durant finishing with 13 points and hitting 1-of-6 3-pointers.

It is fair to point out that it is a long regular season, and Durant playing in second gear against a rebuilding Hornets outfit is not a problem. But that disappearing act versus the Bucks is not what the Suns need at this stage of the season, while in the loss to the Celtics Durant was outplayed by Jayson Tatum. Perkins, as you might expect, was not done there though -

"You want to take it a couple of nights back (against the Hornets), look at Kevin Durant again. And body language says it all. I understand sometimes you have to be a floor-spacer, but look at his body language. Not being involved in the offense, this cannot happen if you're the Phoenix Suns."

Kendrick Perkins on Kevin Durant

Perkins would save his most damning evidence for last though, providing a statistic that fans in The Valley will not want to spend too much time thinking about. There's no doubt Booker is the face of the team and their best player. But Durant at 35-years-old was the Suns' best player through the first two-quarters of their season, and has acted as the closer when needed at times this season.

"Kevin Durant, four points in the last three fourth-quarters in 28 minutes of action. We're talking about KD, we're talking about Kevin Durant. A certified bucket getter, that cannot happen if you're the Phoenix Sun and you're trying to make a push in the Western Conference."

Kendrick Perkins on Kevin Durant

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There is surely an element here of Perkins picking on Durant because after several fourth-quarter performances like he has had recently, it is easy to do so. It also makes for the kind of soundbite that fans can argue about back-and-forth online, and so what Perkins is saying here needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

No player is great all of the time, and Durant has been amazing this season. So good on both ends, that head coach Frank Vogel has some strong takes on Durant's defensive abilities as well. But underneath all of that there is a kernel of truth, and that is the real worry for the Suns. They should be ramping up and yet Durant has looked disinterested and not up to his high standards recently.