May 15, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts to a play in action against the Memphis Grizzlies during the second half in game five of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Grizzlies defeated the Thunder 88-84. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Has Kevin Durant's Superstar Bubble Popped After Series Loss to Memphis?

Kevin Durant couldn’t lead the Oklahoma City Thunder on his own, which means he’s not the superstar we thought he was and needs to stop being given a free pass when he clearly can’t be a game changer.

That’s the kind of garbage analysis you can expect to hear from hacks like Skip Bayless as they attempt to capture 15 more minutes of fame and drive up ratings for television gossip shows. But while the analysis from the likes of talking heads like Bayless will attack Durant in that kind of mouth-breathing fashion, the question we need to ponder is — are they really that far off the truth?

Facts are facts, and after last night’s series ending loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, Thunder fans are waking up this morning with aching hearts. The loss can’t totally be pinned on Kevin Durant, but we have to be fair in our criticism of NBA superstars and just because Durant keeps to himself and doesn’t rub people the wrong way doesn’t mean he’s exempt from the fingers that were pointed at LeBron James until he finally won a title last season.

We all have to admit that the Russell Westbrook injury was far more devastating that initially thought, and that’s where animosity towards Durant starts. The idea was that while losing Westbrook was harsh, Durant is an MVP-caliber superstar and was expected to carry the team as such. But as we learned the hard way, you can have a Lamborgini with sexy rims and a sleek paint job — but without an engine it’s just nice to look at and doesn’t really go anywhere.

Unfortunately, people that think they talk about sports for a living but actually mouth breath live on television think that we all need a person to rally against. LeBron James was the king of this sort of treatment and still is to those who are stark defenders of Michael Jordan’s honor. Tim Tebow got the reverse treatment from the mouth breathers and it’s Durant’s turn to be made an example of by pundits.

But what people are failing to realize is that Durant can be a superstar MVP-type leader and still need support. He’s the leader of not the Thunder but a well oiled basketball machine. It can have a crown jewel like Durant, but when a major piece of equipment is missing, the machine breaks down.

On the old TV sets, in order to get the picture and sound to work you needed to plug in the yellow, red and white cords. Leave one unplugged and your TV wasn’t working in the way it normally should. Either you didn’t have sound, picture or both but all three needed to be plugged in to give you the proper viewing experience.

That’s what the Thunder experienced against the Grizzlies. They had killer picture and a stunning set but the sound was missing and the product wasn’t complete.

Blame Kevin Durant all you want, he has that coming since he’s the superstar leader. But be careful how much of the blame you place on him and be extra cautious in making hasty generalizations about his status as a star in the NBA. He couldn’t get it done this year without Westbrook, But Micheal had Scottie, Kobe had first Shaq and then Pau and LeBron has Wade and Bosh.

Durant needs Westbrook like Scooby needs Shaggy and until they’re both in the game together, the one remaining is just going to be chasing a phantom championship.

Tags: Kevin Durant NBA Oklahoma City Thunder

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