After much speculation all season, Kevin Durant, possibly the NBA’s third best player, selected the Golden State Warriors to continue his career. This means the Golden State Warriors now hold two of the best players in the NBA, and Kevin Durant may finally be able to fulfill his potential by winning NBA championships.
The problem with putting two top players on the same team is usually a matter of leadership and ball dominance. But in the case of KD, he already spent a lot of time without the ball while playing with Russell Westbrook as point guard.
He still performed well and did his best to fit the overall plan.
Playing with Golden State, a faster paced and overall more effective team, is going to open up the opportunities that Durant has to lead the frontcourt offense. The playoffs have taught the Golden State Warriors a bitter lesson courtesy of an overpowering forward by the name of LeBron James.
The Warriors didn’t have a frontcourt answer to his presence, and reliance on their guards didn’t work out.
Even before he gets to suit up in a Golden State Warriors uniform, Durant was criticized for joining one of the best teams in the NBA, rather than staying with the Oklahoma City Thunder and fighting that uphill battle until victory. ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith was the first vocal critic.
He criticized Durant for jumping on a bandwagon, but he was then criticized for jumping on the ESPN bandwagon as a sportscaster. Former NBA player Reggie Miller, someone who stayed with the team he started with his entire career, even though he didn’t win any championships, thought it best Durant follow this model, and said that even winning one championship with OKC would be more legitimate than multiple championships with Golden State.
Even controversial former NBA power forward Charles Barkley hopped on the criticize Durant bandwagon, but Barkley’s career doesn’t totally reflect players like Miller. He also suggested Durant follow players who slowly build a lesser team to prominence, fighting the NBA odds and carrying a franchise on their shoulders.
Unlike Miller, Barkley indeed switched teams a few times, but that didn’t stop him from holding an opinion, whether it contradicts his own experience or not.
The Golden State Warriors defeated the Thunder in this year’s NBA Western Conference Finals, essentially in the same way they later got beat by the Cavs in the NBA Finals. The two losses were equally bitter, but could be exactly the reason KD joining the Warriors will free up the competitive landscape in the western conference, and could lead to years of domination, creating the type of teams the NBA hasn’t seen since the golden eras of the Magic Johnson and Larry Bird led Lakers and Celtics.
Durant will receive a 2-year $54.3 million contract, and will most likely stay with the Warriors a while, a place that could both augment his style of play, and where he could pick up multiple championships. It is also the place that reversed the curse put on him by rapper Lil B, according to Billboard.
Since Lil B supports the Warriors, he stated he lifted the curse he put on Durant that condemned him to never winning a championship. It was a Twitter feud that the two got into after Kevin Durant insulted Lil B’s music.
Whether it is real or not, Lil B will stop boasting himself as the cause of Durant’s struggles on the basketball court.
Not only will the Warriors get Durant, a decision likely to avoid further post season embarrassment, they will lose some key players. KD comes at a price, so of course some other players have to leave Golden State, followed by the burden of their paychecks on Warrior’s management.
But of course the Splash Brothers will stay.