JJ Redick has become the resident player-friendly voice on ESPN. In most of his debates, Redick stands up to traditional media hosts like Stephen A. Smith and responds to them in the voice of what players in the league feel. Redick just ended a 15-year NBA career where he became one of the most respected veterans in the league by the time he retired with Dallas last season.
Redick has now stepped in to protect the two players the entire Finals matchup will be a horrible experience for. Former Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant and former Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving.
KD and Kyrie left Golden State and Boston on the same day in 2019 to begin their own dynasty. However, the team hasn't even made it to a Conference Finals in their three years together due to a multitude of issues. Meanwhile, the teams they left will face off in the Finals this year. Redick has defended them from the slander they are receiving for leaving those teams and them being successful again:
“If we’re talking about them leaving their teams. I think the answer to that is neither look bad and neither should look bad because we’re talking about something that happened three years ago. And in a vacuum, yes, Golden State Warriors are back in the Finals. Boston Celtics are back in the Finals. I get that. But so many things have to happen to get to that point. Whether it is Klay missing two seasons, Kevin Durant off an injury, for Boston figuring a way to get Al Horford back because you signed Kemba Walker and you used Trade Exception.”
Redick has made salient points about the nature of team building and how they can change over three years, but the criticism of KD and Kyrie has been strong because they left healthy winning situations to create their own team.
As we can see, those healthy winning situations continue to grow as they stand as the two best teams in the league, while the Brooklyn Nets were the only team to get swept in the playoffs.