What happens when you complete the greatest regular season in NBA history (73-9), break over 50 (both team and individual) records, have the two-time league MVP in Stephen Curry, and have a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals before losing in seven games to the Cavaliers? You get a top three player in the world in Kevin Durant. Thats what!
If Golden State did not sport the “villain” title last year, they certainly have it now.
Durant received a mountain of criticism when he decided to take his talents to Golden State. After having a 3-1 lead against the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals (ultimately losing in seven) and playing along side Russell Westbrook who is a top five player in the league, Durant seemingly had no reason to leave OKC. But nevertheless, Durant felt his best chances to win a title would be in Golden State.
Golden State did not just add a former four time scoring champ and 2014 MVP, they added one of the greatest scorers the league has ever seen; alongside two of the best shooters in NBA history (Klay Thompson and Curry). With Durant, Thompson, Curry, and Draymond Green all on the floor at once, it makes Golden State almost impossible to guard. When you have four players that can put the ball on the ground as well as foot it from deep with ease, the options are endless.
Getting Durant did come at a steep cost however. The Warriors have gone with the slogan “Strength in Number” for the past few years now. Their ability to go 10, 11 guys deep and still play at a high level made them one of the top-tier teams in the league (and won them a title in 2015). But with gaining Durant, Golden State lost seven (!) players, including staring forward Harrison Barnes and starting center Andrew Bogut. Losing that much for one player is unheard of! But that one player being Kevin Durant is another thing.
The Warriors were able to keep key pieces such as Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston who will continue to come off the bench. Other big additions in the summer were JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachuila and David West. Rookie Patrick McCaw, who impressed in summer league and preseason, will be a solid rotation player for the warriors.
Losing a whole teams worth of players would hurt any team expecting to compete for a title. The Warriors will struggle out the gates with chemistry and rim protecting; seeing as McGee and Green are their only rim protectors. But when you have Durant, Curry, Green and Thompson on the same team, they will mask a lot of problems.
Golden State was a three point shot from Kyrie Irving and a block from LeBron James away from become two-time world champions. And with Durant being added to the fray, expect the Warriors to representing the West in the Finals; or something went terrible wrong.