Are Warriors Locks For 2017 NBA Title After Signing Kevin Durant?
Kevin Durant turned his back on the Oklahoma City Thunder, shocked the NBA world and turned Twitter and all social media upside down on Monday morning.
Durant used the 4th of July to announce his intentions as a free agent – an act that sent The Players Tribune to full crash mode. When it was all said and done, Durant admitted he didn’t love the idea of his image being tarnished or the feeling of abandoning his OKC fans and brethren, but he ultimately felt a higher calling.
KD to Dubs
For one reason or another he needed and wanted to play for the Golden State Warriors.
Kevin Durant will sign a two-year deal with the Warriors at $54.3 million, league sources say, with a Player Option for Year 2
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 4, 2016
Durant kept it short and sweet. He did the announcement after much deliberation, but he also did it on his terms. It took just his second paragraph to get to his new NBA team and it took just five paragraphs in all before his signature made it official.
Durant knew this was a tough call, but he also knew that if he wanted to win titles, it had to be made:
“It really pains me to know that I will disappoint so many people with this choice, but I believe I am doing what I feel is the right thing at this point in my life and my playing career.”
There are two things just about everyone is saying upon hearing of Kevin Durant choosing the Warriors: he sold out and now the Warriors are going to win a ton of championships.
The first part is pure opinion. If you’re an OKC fan, it’s tough not to feel that way. This is about the same thing LeBron James did with The Decision several years back, and even if it’s not, it still doesn’t look great for an elite player to join an elite team to try to win titles.
But that first part seems to be misconstrued with flawed logic that star players only can win on their own and that joining a good team with a great system, good people and an overall strong environment is somehow a bad thing.
It’s true that Durant’s path to a title might now be a little easier. Having guys like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green around you will make that plausible.
However, KD had the Dubs against the ropes in the Western Conference Finals and then watched as they let the Cavaliers off the hook with a similar 3-1 series lead in the NBA Finals.
Nothing is guaranteed and what Durant probably saw was the proverbial writing on the wall: that the Thunder couldn’t beat the Warriors and in all likelihood, no one in the Western Conference could.
Instead, what we’re probably lining up for is a yearly blow for blow exchange between the Warriors and the Cavs and Durant simply picked a side.
This wasn’t about abandonment or picking someone who was already a champion. It was about getting to the big stage and taking down the current champions.
This was also Durant doing what is best for him. Fans demanding he waste away on a team that has only been to one Finals series in his career – that’s the true definition of selfish. He spent eight years of his career giving his all, and a little over a year ago he had the majority of his season robbed by a foot injury. That rough season had to have made the picture clear: it’s about doing all you can to win now and not worry about the surrounding drama.
Warriors Title Odds
With Durant putting his title ambitions in the forefront, there is no doubt the Warriors now look like the severe favorites to win it all next year.
The reality is, with the Cavs winning their first NBA title ever and then proceeding to lose some veteran help off their bench to free agency, the Dubs already were looking like the favorites to bounce back and not just reach their third straight title series – but win it.
The odds are going to be tight. Golden State and Cleveland are the clear favorites to make it back to the NBA Finals and it might once again go down to the wire and into a dramatic game seven.
Even if it does, the Warriors now have an extra lethal scorer that can take the pressure off of Curry and Thompson. Durant gives them another attacker, outside shooter, more size and extra length.
The easiest way to see just how much better Golden State is getting? Durant replaces a departing Harrison Barnes.
There are no guarantees in the NBA anymore. The Warriors and Cavs both survived 3-1 series holes. Golden State won 73 games and still didn’t win a title. Kevin Durant just jumped ship to bolster a team that was already a scary as hell, record-breaking unit.
But they just got even scarier. And probably turned into one of the safest title-winning bets at the same time.
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