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Rick Barry critical of Russell Westbrook for Kevin Durant's departure from OKC

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It's been two years since Kevin Durant made the controversial decision to leave the Thunder for the Warriors, and it's safe to say the move has worked out pretty well for the four-time scoring champ. 

Two championships and two finals MVP's later though, the debate still rages on around the integrity of his decision and exactly why he made it. 

Russell Westbrook has always been the most common scapegoat in the blame game for KD's departure, and he still has critics piling on him to this day. 

The social media mob undoubtedly let the 2017 MVP have it over the situation on a daily basis, but that certainly doesn't faze him. 

Westbrook seems to have drawn a new critic though, in the form of Warriors legend and NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry. 

Barry is more familiar with player mobility than most who played in his era, having played in both the NBA and the ABA in his career, and being a Warriors a great it's no surprise he's taking Durant's side on the matter. 

The 74-year-old fully backs the decision KD made, and thinks he's a better basketball player for it. 

Whilst praising the Warriors system that allows Durant to thrive, Barry took some not subtle shots at Westbrook in an appearance on the NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors Insider Podcast.

“Kevin Durant is going to become a better basketball player by becoming a Golden State Warrior,” Barry recalled telling people at the time. “He’s going to be involved in a system where he’s actually going to have the ball, he’s going to play with a bunch of unselfish players, he’ll get more easy shots than ever before and he’s going to have more fun playing basketball.”

Barry went on to say that both Westbrook and James Harden restricted Durant at times in his career at OKC though, taking shots at the dynamic PG for his tendency to hang on to the ball for too long and limiting ball movement. 

“They are fantastic players,” he said. “The skill and the things they do are unbelievable, and how hard they both play.

“Except I wouldn’t want to be standing around on the wing when my point guard has the ball for 22 seconds and then he can’t get a shot off and he throws it to me with one or two on the clock and I’ve got to throw up a prayer.

“How much fun is that? It’s no fun to watch. And it’s worse to have to be a part of it playing under those circumstances.”

Though it's obvious that Westbrook did frustrate Durant at times, it's probably overstated how much that aspect shaped his decision.

Though the tension that was blatantly apparent between the two in that first season apart, and somewhat into last season two, might suggest otherwise. 

Barry makes a strong case regardless, though recent rumours of a potential return to OKC and a reunion with his longtime former teammate and friend may hint that Durant is willing to look past those difficulties. 

Topics:
Russell Westbrook
James Harden
Oklahoma City Thunder
Golden State Warriors
Kevin Durant
NBA

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