“If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” a phrase that is all too applicable to Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Golden State Warriors earlier this week. Kevin Durant signed a contract for $54.3 million to play for Golden State over the next two seasons. It’s understandable that Thunder fans are upset when their best player just left to play for the very team that kept them out of the NBA Finals last season. But can we really blame KD?
At his first press conference as a member of the Warriors, Durant said “I just want to play basketball.” It seems that Durant has been trying to just play ball his whole career. However, there’s always seemed to be someone getting in the way of that, whether that be the Press, Russell Westbrook ball-hogging and turning the ball over in critical moments, LeBron James and the Heat shutting the door on his hopes for a championship, and then Steph Curry and the Warriors stepping in to do the same. Durant wants better, demands better, and got better. Not only is he now very likely to win a championship, he’s more likely to win back-to-back championships over the next two years (11/5) than any other team is to win one (7/2).
(Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)
Sure, this is not something that the fans want. As a Spurs fan, it’s definitely not what I want. Moves like this make the league less competitive. In sports, less competitive means boring. When something is predictable, it loses it’s excitement. In a league where even Dwyane Wade is willing to leave the Miami Heat — a team he’s played for since 2003 — how can any owner, GM, or fan feel confident in their superstar or their future? But this is the modern NBA and we need to understand that with the salary cap on the rise, super teams are going to continue popping up and falling apart and popping up again. Even the Warriors will lose their superstars eventually. Kevin Durant has matured enough to understand that if he wants to compete and win in the modern NBA, these are the decisions he’ll have to make.
Durant has averaged 27.4 points per game over his career. Do the Warriors really need all of that extra fire power? The answer is ABSOLUTELY. The Warriors went scoreless in the final 4-plus minutes of Game 7 of the NBA Finals to lose to Cleveland and watch all of their hopes of repeating be squashed to nothing. How can they improve on a 73-win season, the greatest regular-season team of all time? They lost 9 games — I suppose they could lose no games at all. With a starting five that includes Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Zaza Pachulia, the Warriors should coast to the top seed in the Western Conference, and, one can imagine, the title as well.
(Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)
One would think that there can only be positives to signing a former MVP, 7-time All-Star, and 6’10” small forward, but, of course, there’s always a downside. For one, the Warriors lose many of the role players that got them 73 wins, such as Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut. We can also think on LeBron’s transition to Miami, which didn’t produce a championship in its first season — can the Warriors survive not winning it all next season? The Spurs and Cavaliers are still viable contenders, especially if Curry and Durant can’t learn to play together over the course of the regular season. However, every player on the Warriors has clearly bought in to their “Strength in Numbers” mentality, so it would be up to Durant to buy in as well. I believe he will and the Warriors will win championships for years to come.
Kevin Durant is the boost the Warriors needed after their Finals loss last season. Whether or not this is good or bad for the NBA, at least we’ll get to watch some beautiful basketball being played in Oakland next season.