When it was announced that Kevin Durant would be joining the Golden State Warriors in the off-season, the news sent ripples through the league with players and fans alike weighing in on the move.
On the surface, Warriors fans, and most probably the franchise itself, were reveling in the formation of a ‘super-team’ with the bringing in of a seven-foot, seven-time All-Star and 2014 regular-season MVP with great handles and the ability to shoot from virtually anywhere on the court.
The 2014 champions had blown a 3-1 lead and the finals last season, and Durant was the insurance policy that the Warriors needed to secure another shot at the Larry O’Brien trophy this season.
The decision does however have its pros and cons and for some could have not been the best decision for the team to make.
Golden State has one of the best frontcourts in the league with back-to-back MVP Stephen Curry, who averages 24.6 points per game at point guard, and Klay Thompson with an average of 21.4 points at shooting guard, adding Kevin Durant at small forward gave the Warriors increased ammunition and the ability to dominate the Western Conference once again.
Last season, Golden State also pulled off a major comeback from a 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference finals against Oklahoma City Thunder, Durant’s former team, and this season the team is struggling in seventh position and seems to be the least of the Warriors’ worries with one of the team’s key marksmen now in its ranks.
Even at New Mexico College, Durant was averaging 25.8 points per game, at OKC he averaged 27.4 points per game and at the Warriors he is averaging 25.8 and could potentially get better.
With him in the squad, the Warriors are number one in points and assists and fifth in rebounds in the league and are naturally at the top of the Western Conference.
From a bigger-picture perspective, getting Durant at Golden State was a great idea and it seems to be paying off as we are now at the halfway mark of the season and they are three games ahead of the San Antonio Spurs in the second spot.
On the other hand, having Durant at the team has meant that Curry and Thompson have had to share the ball more and this has impacted their potential MVP chances as they are also sharing the points.
However, it is almost certain that KD did not join the Warriors to get an MVP trophy. He had a much bigger trophy in mind which he figured he would not get at the Thunder.
Besides, of the three potential contenders from his new team, only Thompson has not gotten the accolade and would surely rather have another championship ring than be in a very tightly contested MVP race.
Career-wise, Durant’s move was a perfect one as he tried to avoid ending up on the list of greats that ended their careers without a championship ring like Charles Barkley, Allen Iverson, Karl Malone and Patrick Ewing to mention a few.
The announcement of the move came with mixed responses from fellow NBA players, some commenting that it seemed like a betrayal saying that was like if Larry Bird had moved to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 80s and others simply looking forward to a highly competitive season.
No matter how one looks at Durant’s move, it brought abut a lot of excitement in the league and made the Warriors an even more must-watch team on the West, and if they meet an also-revamped Cavaliers team in the Finals this season, the entertainment value will be immeasurable.