With the first game in the 2017 NBA Finals behind us (as well as the entire 2017 NBA regular season), we can confidently say that Kevin Durant has made the Warriors a better team. No surprises there.
But what’s missing from many conversations is how Golden State has made Kevin Durant a better player. KD is playing at a higher level now than he ever did in Oklahoma. Sure, he’s not making more points, but he’s making them more efficiently, getting more rebounds, blocking more shots, generally playing better.
There’s all this talk about how unfair it is that KD went to the Warriors, how shameful it is that he joined the team that he lost to, about how there’ll be asterisk next to his championship ring since it’s not his team.
But what if that’s not what it’s about?
What if it’s just about someone who loves what they do (play basketball) and wants to do it to the best of their ability?
The Warriors don’t allow him to just win rings, etc. They allow him to play basketball at his highest level. It’s not about points made – it’s about how they are made. The Warriors were built to allow Steph Curry to do Steph things, and are based on what Draymond Green can do. And KD got lucky – he fit right into their scheme. He makes them better, but just as importantly, they make him better.
Who doesn’t want that?
There’s a saying that if you want to be successful you should maximize your strengths. You can focus on minimizing your weaknesses, but in the end, you won’t achieve your ceiling, you’ll just raise your floor. By being part of a team where your strengths are maximized, you can perform to your greatest potential. By joining the Warriors and ignoring the slings and arrows, KD found somewhere that his strengths would be magnified, and his weaknesses mitigated. There’s no surprise he’s willing to take less money to stay in that environment. It’s about more than winning, it’s about fulfilling potential and about transcending limitations.
There are some good lessons in here for the rest of us. Most people spend their careers fitting a square peg in a round hole and trying to sand down the edges. What if you found a square hole? Figure out what you do best, and find a place where that’s recognized, appreciated, and needed.