So this past fourth of July, instead of talk of what we were going to eat, how we were going to light the fireworks and how great it was that this amazing national holiday fell on a Monday, the talk was of Kevin Durant and his decision.
A decision that would turn sports fans against each other.
A decision that didn’t send ripples through the basketball world, it sent Shockwaves.
Kevin Durant is going to the Golden State Warriors.
A Warriors team that has reigning, defending, two-time NBA MVP and the first unanimous MVP Steph Curry. A Warriors team with Draymond Green, Andre Igoudala, and Klay Thompson.
A Warriors team that went 73 – 9. And despite down 3-1 to Oklahoma City, went to the NBA Finals.
A Warriors team that was one minute and thirty seconds away from winning back to back titles.
Yeah, THAT Golden State Warriors.
But during all the hoopla, arguing, and debates, I came to a realization that when uttered would make no sense to a non-basketball aficionado: GS just proved that Lebron James and Kyrie Irving are better than them.
Now that may sound utterly idiotic and blasphemous, but there is some truth behind this. And in this opinion piece, not only will I explain how, but why this move is being called “cowardly”, and how this move won’t guarantee the Warriors a title.
First lets cover the blasphemous opinion
Well for one, Golden State just became the first team in Finals history to lose when up 3-1. Now a lot of people are going to take into account that both Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut were major factors in the Warriors losing, but that point becomes moot because Cleveland was still down 3 to 2 when Bogut went down and they were down 3-1 when Green was suspended. What is the excuse for Klay? Or Steph, or Andre, or the rest of the team? The answer is none. Cleveland proved that behind the unstoppable force of Lebron James, and the “you can’t guard me” play style of Kyrie, they could beat anyone on any floor. The numbers just proved it. They averaged for 55 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds together throughout the seven games. Golden State had no answer for that even when Draymond was back on the court.
Secondly, by Golden State signing KD, it proves that a complete team that was a minute and a half from getting a second NBA title is not enough to get it done. This looks weak on their part, because it means they don’t have the firepower to take on a healthy Cleveland Cavaliers team, and there is another deeper reason why this might hurt them, but ill explain that later. From what I can tell, Golden State not only wants to be named the best team, they want to be treated as such, but that won’t happen. San Antonio will be a problem. The Clippers will be a problem, and expect Oklahoma City to have a say in this upcoming season.
Now unless you have been living under a rock, ESPN analyst and First Take host Stephen A. Smith, has called this move “the weakest move in basketball”, even going so far as to post a 19-minute rant about it. But while he calls it the weakest move, I’m going to go one step further: it makes him a coward, and a bigger one than the one Lebron was called in his move to Miami. And the reason I say it is probably the reason you think it is:
Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder were up 3 games to 1 with 48 minutes away from closing them out and going on to face the Cavs in the finals. But not only did they lose game 5, they lost game 6 and 7 and got eliminated. And instead of you fixing the ship and getting ready to take them on again, you decide to join them? Cowardice. I don’t care who I offend, he is a coward. And in now way am I blaming him for leaving the Thunder, he has all the right in the world to do so. But to go to the team that you had your proverbial boot on their throats is something of pure cowardice and basically says to me ” I relinquish all my rights to be compared to MJ or Lebron and am no longer a superstar in the league, I am basically a role player. ” And that doesn’t just go for KD, Steph gets lumped in that too, because if you want to be the best, you wouldn’t have played the role you played in the signing of KD. If Steph wanted to send a message that he wants to be the best on a team and not considered a role player. Sure you guys can win titles but it won’t feel as good as winning one and beating all of the worthy competition.
And I’ve seen a lot of people on social media say , “well why is it people are lauding Lebron for when he went to Miami but hating on KD for going to GS?” Well, the reason that is happening is because Lebron’s departure and KD’s departure are completely different. Lebron didn’t leave a championship team to go to another one who beat you in the last season. If that was the case, we would be talking about how Lebron is back in Cleveland after playing for the Boston Celtics for 4 years. This move is one of pure cowardice, and I’m sorry I have to be the one to say it but someone needs to.
Okay lets cut to the chase: we all know that Cleveland will face Golden State for a third year straight in the NBA Finals. And a lot of people believe that Golden State will easily sweep Cleveland in the finals, giving Lebron his fifth loss in the NBA Finals. And to that I say…….
Golden State could make it to the Finals and still lose. Lets look at the starting five for both teams as it is currently constructed:
Golden State: Steph Curry at the point, Klay Thompson at the 2, Kevin Durant and Draymond at the forwards, and Zaza Pachulia at center.
Cleveland: Kyrie Irving at the point, J.R. Smith at the 2, Lebron and Kevin Love at the forwards and Tristan Thompson at center.
Now you would look at that lineup and say Golden State is going to mop the floor with Cleveland and my retort for that is: who on Golden State is going to play defense?
Klay can’t switch guard, Draymond is a foul liability, Zaza is a nobody who is going to get housed and Curry can’t guard a breeze. On top of that, Kevin Durant is ineffective against Lebron in high pressure situations. On top of that, look at the rest of Golden State’s roster. In order to sign Durant, they had to trade Andrew Bogut, cut Festus Ezeli, and release Harrison Barnes. So the only bench players you currently have signed are Shaun Livingston, Andre Igoudala, David West and draft pick Damian Jones. Meanwhile, Cleveland has only lost Timothy Mozgov and Matthew Dellavedova, but pick up Kay Felder in the draft, meaning the core roster is more intact than Golden State, meaning even if Golden State picks up players, it’s going to take even longer for them to gel and work effectively.
On top of that, there is no definite leader on offense. Both Steph and Klay were ineffective in the Finals and were inconsistent and you decide to add KD, who has shown to be more inconsistent than those two in playoff games? But what makes this even worse is that with this “core four”, one of them is going to regulated to not touching the ball and if it turns out to be Draymond, you are in trouble because it could be said that for the last two runs in the playoffs, Draymond was the heart and soul of this team. So just because they look title bound, don’t start shipping a Larry O’Brien to Oakland just yet.
In Closing, I think this deal will break the careers of Kevin Durant and Steph Curry. If they win, they will be considered champions but just role players who decided to take the easy route. If they lose, they are considered busts in an era where they were once considered superstars. The only winner in this is Lebron James because if he and Kyrie Irving find a way to beat this team, not only would that put Lebron in a rare air but it would mean he is a certified Hall of Famer. So if I’m Cleveland, I’m not fretting this decision, in fact I would celebrate it. Because unbeknownst to Kevin Durant and the Warriors, while you might feel like you are headed for the highest kingdom of basketball glory, the fall that waits you is deeper than any “splash” you could make.