Like every other Golden State Warrior fan, I was overjoyed when Kevin Durant jumped ship.
The move sent shockwaves throughout the league. I was amazed when Charles Barkley said in essence that Durant was “cheating” in search of a world championship.
This was a basketball decision, and I’m sure Durant realized that his chances of being a multiple time NBA champion are better with Golden State than Oklahoma City because of the youth of the team. Durant, Draymond Green, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are all in their late 20s. If the salary cap allows, this team could be great for the next 4-5 years.
Every player wants to win, and not every franchise can help a player achieve that. Heck I never got the feeling that Durant and Westbrook were best buddies. I think they run in different circles. Durant seems quiet and introverted, and Westbrook is flashy. So what if Durant wants a ring sooner rather than later. The NBA is vastly different from when Barkley, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson played. Blame the system and not the player.
With Durant in the fold, the only thing lacking is a center when the Warriors want to play big.
It will be interesting to see how Durant meshes. He has played nine years of isolation basketball, and that hasn’t been the Warriors’ game. They are at their best moving without the ball. Will the Warriors change their way of attacking at all to incorporate Durant’s strength?
There is a lot of talk that OKC may trade Russell Westbrook rather than lose him to free agency. That would be a wise move
One thing that needs to get better for the Warriors is rebounding. Thompson and Durant are going to need to help Green on the boards. Too many times I saw a 3-pointer lofted up and nobody was going to the offensive glass. That has to change. You need to get some garbage baskets here and there, especially if the outside shooting is off. You have to find other ways to score.
The unfortunate thing about the NBA salary cap is that you can’t just pay a luxury tax and keep everybody you want.
You have to shred your roster, and I’ll be sorry to see guys like Harrison Barnes, Leandro Barbosa and Andrew Bogut go. They were valuable in their roles.
Ditto for Marreese Speights and Brandon Rush.
I would have liked to see Speights stick around even if he had to take less than he’s worth. I don’t think he defends well enough to be a big-minute player, but he is one of the best-shooting power forwards around. He thrived in the Warriors’ system, and he might find it hard to produce or get quality shots elsewhere. Rush probably doubled his salary by going to Minnesota.
Rush resurrected a crummy career coming to the Warriors. Had it not been for Golden State, he might not have had a job at all last season.
I don’t think the team will miss Festus Ezeli that much because Green can do the same things, and is probably more physical. Had Barnes been able to shoot in the playoffs like he did through much of the regular season, the Warriors might have repeated. Barnes was horrendous from the outside, and was unable to complement Curry and Thompson when it was needed the most.
I like the signing of David West, who bypassed more money to play with a winning team. Even at 36, he should be able to give the Warriors 16-18 minutes a game off the bench. Ian Clark had his moments, and he gives the Warriors a third point guard behind Curry and Livingston.
Ray Allen? Not wild about that on. He’s 41 years old, and I don’t see him play more than six or seven minutes a game.
I think this all comes down to being money hungry or playing on a winner. I’m sure at some point Curry and Thompson might have to take less to keep the roster intact, and unless something goes horribly wrong, I expect them to do that.