Durant snaps back after Pippen's blistering 'team basketball' critique
Chicago Bulls great Scottie Pippen recently offered a tough critique of Kevin Durant's style of play, saying the two-time Finals MVP ignored team-oriented basketball in the Brooklyn Nets' season-ending Game 7 overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.
"You put KD in Brooklyn, and Kyrie (Irving) gets hurt, and James Harden ain’t that guy, now KD not only has to score for them but also make plays for them," Pippen told GQ's Tyler R. Tynes. "And this is no knock to KD, but they asked me, 'Has he surpassed LeBron James?' And my answer was: LeBron James knows team basketball better than KD."
The 55-year-old continued: "KD can score better than LeBron, probably always (has) been able to. But has he surpassed LeBron? Nah. He tried to beat the Milwaukee Bucks (by himself) instead of utilizing his team. You see what I'm saying?
"LeBron James would've figured out how to beat them, and he wouldn't have been exhausted, and he may not have taken the last shot. But LeBron ain't KD, and KD ain't LeBron. KD is a shooter, a scorer. But he doesn't have what LeBron has."
Durant did not take kindly to the Hall of Famer's assessment.
"Didn't the great Scottie Pippen refuse to go in the game for the last-second shot because he was in his feelings (after) his coach drew up the play for a better shooter?" the 32-year-old tweeted, referencing a low point in the Hall of Famer's distinguished career.
During a 1994 playoff game against the New York Knicks, Pippen refused to take the floor for the final 1.8 seconds after Bulls head coach Phil Jackson called on sharpshooter Toni Kukoc to take the potential game-winner. Pippen had placed third in MVP balloting that year after Michael Jordan retired for the first time ahead of the 1993-94 season.
Amid a contract dispute with the Bulls' front office, Pippen also elected to undergo foot surgery just before the 1997-98 season after Jordan had returned to the NBA. That episode also came under Durant's scrutiny.
"This guy Scott also wanted to enjoy his summer, so he chose to rehab during the season lol ... (Scottie Pippen) THEY FOLLOWED PHIL, NOT YOU!" Durant wrote.