For the first time in his career, Kevin Durant was a candidate for the Defensive Player of the Year award last season.
Since joining the Golden State Warriors in 2016, the reigning two-time Finals MVP has elevated his game on that end of the floor and was one of the best defenders in the league in the 2017-18 campaign.
Alongside his usually consistent offensive numbers (26.4 points per game), he posted a career-high 1.8 blocks per game.
With the Warriors often going small, he took on the responsibility of being the team’s rim protector and put his seven-foot frame to good use.
In the last two years, he’s established himself as one of the best two-way players in the league.
But despite his terrific displays on both ends, Durant wasn’t voted in the top five for either the MVP or DPOY awards.
In a recent interview with 95.7 The Game, the 29-year-old said he’s being overlooked due to “pure hate” and for being a member of the Warriors.
“You know they’re not gonna give me anything. Even if it’s on the fence, I have to be clear-cut better than everybody for me to even get a look,” he said.
“I mean, it’s just pure hate for me obviously. And no appreciation for my real skill for the game, but I get it, I understand where we coming from.
“I understand what we have here in this building that scares everybody, but for me, I was just proud of that growth that I had in that area [defensively], where as I just wanted to be able to be relied on to guard anybody.
“You know, accolades that stuff … that stuff is kind of long gone for me unless it’s like Finals or something like that where it’s probably pretty even.
“But regular-season awards, I mean, I’m never gonna get a look when it comes to that, especially playing here for the Warriors.”
The small forward has, of course, won back-to-back Finals MVP honours and championships which is what really counts.
It’s certainly clear, though, that it bothered him to not be considered strongly for the top individual awards.
But when he’s on a star-studded team alongside the likes of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, it definitely diminishes his chances of winning accolades as they make the game so much easier for him.