Kevin Durant remains. Baker Mayfield begins.
What do Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant and Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield have in common? Since it was revealed that Durant and the Nets will not part ways and that Baker will be the Week 1 starter for the Panthers over Sam Darnold, Skip Bayless has drawn a major comparison between the two polarizing athletes.
In this week’s episode of “The Skip Bayless Show” Bayless claimed that Durant and Mayfield have one big thing in common: they were both forever humiliated by their respective leagues.
“As much as I love KD and Baker as players, I find it difficult to like them both off and off the pitch. KD is the thinnest superstar I’ve ever watched closely. Baker became insufferably self-conscious before he had actually proven anything.”
The Nets’ two-month impasse with Durant ended this week with the superstar folding his hand and withdrawing his trade request, a move that Bayless believes made Durant look less like a superstar than he really is.
“Nets owner Joe Tsai made Kevin Durant look stupid,” Bayless said. “He just stood in front of 7-foot-tall Kevin Durant and said to him, ‘No, I’m sorry, you’re not going to ultimately move out of Brooklyn. I will put your feet to this fire I will not fire Sean Marks or Steve Nash. you, Kyrie [Irving] and Ben Simmons will win a championship for the Brooklyn Nets.'”
Similarly, Bayless said Mayfield received his compensation from Deshaun Watson, who went to the open market.
“Supposedly the Browns wanted a ‘grown up’ quarterback,” Bayless said. “They didn’t think Baker Mayfield qualified, so they pounced on Deshaun and Baker’s pride dove into the depths of humility.”
But this newfound humility shared by the two athletes is exactly why Durant and Mayfield are both primed to have their best seasons of their careers, Bayless claimed.
After Durant failed to lead the Nets to a single playoff win last postseason — shooting just 39.4% from the floor in a streak swept by the Celtics in the first round — doubts began to mount his skills to wear a team in its post-Golden State era. But Bayless believes the Nets’ refusal to concede Durant will set him up for a big comeback this season.
“Kevin Durant is growing up,” he said. “He was subconsciously looking for someone to oppose him. Joe Tsai did that. I think Kevin Durant is going to have a monster year. This team should be favored to win everything.”
After the former No. 1 overall winner ended Cleveland’s 26-year drought in playoff wins, Mayfield struggled for an 8-9 record last season with 17 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions while suffering from a torn labrum tightened on his non-throwing shoulder.
Maifeld admitted he felt “disrespected”. as his time in Cleveland came to an end after the Browns traded for Watson, and Bayless believes a fresh start in Carolina will put the chip back on the shoulder of the former Texas Tech walk-on.
“Baker is again a hopeless underdog in Carolina,” said Bayless. “I love it. I love this team’s chances. I believe the Carolina Panthers are destined to make the playoffs this year because Baker Mayfield is back doing what he does best: shocking the world. The Panthers have a humble adult quarterback.”
Mayfield’s potential payback season begins in Week 1 in Carolina against his former Browns team, a play he admits has gained a personal meaning for him. Meanwhile, Durant and the Nets are avoiding a split, meaning his title hunt without Steph Curry & Co. will resume in Brooklyn this fall.
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