Kevin Durant gives blunt response to expectations for the Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns have failed to live up to expectations for a variety of reasons so far this season, and Kevin Durant has given a blunt response as to why that is.
Orlando Magic v Phoenix Suns
Orlando Magic v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

No matter what way you try and spin it, the Phoenix Suns have failed to live up to expectations so far this season. There are several main reasons for this - with the most obvious being injuries to key players - but that alone can not excuse the 19-17 record.

More was expected from a roster built around Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal, and although Durant only returned to the starting lineup on Sunday after a slight hamstring issue to face the struggling Memphis Grizzlies, they should still not be losing games like that.

Worse still is the fact the Grizzlies went on a 35-18 run in the fourth-quarter to close out the game, unacceptable for a roster that had their three best players available, plus the surging Grayson Allen. With nearly half of the season now in the books, the Suns should be closing out opponents who are 13-23, with much tougher tests to come.

Which is exactly how Durant approached a question from the media in the wake of the defeat to the Grizzlies in The Valley.

When asked by Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports about the fact fans just expect a team like the Suns with all of their star power to figure it out and win games, Durant offered up this in response;

"Only results matter to people that's watching and context really doesn't matter. So whatever it is, we know what it takes to build a good team, and expectations from the outside really shouldn't concern us. We understand with the talent we have, people expect so much out of us and (will) be disappointed when we take losses like this."

Kevin Durant

Durant is right in everything he is saying here, especially with Suns fans being disappointed when they drop a winnable home game to a team like the Grizzlies. Over the course of a long season, no team is going to be perfect and defeats are always going to happen. That would be understandable if the team was flying high in the Western Conference, but that is not the case.

They are currently languishing in ninth - and seeing the Grizzlies come into town to end a six-game homestand - this should have been seen as a game to go and win before heading back out on the road. With the exception of Eric Gordon, the Suns had six of their top seven players available as well, plus recent energy guys for the group such as Chimezie Metu.

But Durant is also correct in pointing out that - to the vast majority of fans at least - that context doesn't matter. He, Booker and Beal have barely played together all season, which is always going to account for being lower in the standings than you would like to be. Behind closed doors, they will have a much better idea of the full potential of this group.

Durant has also been a part of perhaps the greatest team ever while with the Golden State Warriors, and current head coach Frank Vogel won a championship with the Lakers. To those who have really been paying attention all season, it is clear that offensively there is another level this team can get to. Defensively, some improvements have been made on the beginning of the campaign too.

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What the organization cannot control are expectations, not to mention the media narrative that has been created that is outside of their control. But Durant, coach Vogel and everybody else should know that this is part of creating a winning team with actual expectations. They can't shy away from that, instead they need to embrace pressures of trying to win a championship.

Really though even if Durant got right to the point straight after a sore loss, he has given a balanced and nuanced answer. Nobody is getting carried away in the aftermath of a tough defeat, in the same way the Suns have kept their feet on the ground during the times, albeit small, when everything has been going right for them. There is still so much regular season basketball left to play.