A lot of people consider it one of the weakest moves in recent NBA history. After his team blew a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Finals, Kevin Durant joined the team that beat him – a team that went 73-9 in the regular season. If The Decision set a precedent, KD joining the Warriors took it to the max. Until this year Nets team, that is.
Personally, I didn’t have such strong feelings about it. I can’t blame anyone who wanted to play on that Warriors team. Next to 2014 Spurs, it’s the closest thing to basketball nirvana we’ve seen in the 21st century. My biggest issue with the move was the fact it made them more ISO heavy and robbed us of the beautiful basketball we saw before KD joined the Warriors and again this season. It was unbeatable, but it wasn’t as beautiful.
If you want to blame someone for KD joining the Warriors, blame Michelle Roberts and the players union – they rejected cap smoothing and made it possible for a player of KD’s talent to join an already loaded team on a close-to-max contract. But there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind Durant was joining a loaded, already almost unbeatable team. Well, no one except KD.
“The organization never been a winning organization. When I was in the league, nobody liked Golden State. So, it felt still like an underdog to me. Because I’m looking at the totality of the franchise. I ain’t looking at what happened these last five years. You’ve never been a perennial winner in the NBA – from the 50s on up. So, I’m like, “D***, that’s an underdog franchise to me. This feels good,” like, “S***, this feels like where I’m supposed to be.” It ain’t L.A. It ain’t New York. It feel like where I’m supposed to be. And I think they’re going to give me that experience that I want, that run of like, “S***, we’re about to go on a run trying to win 16 games.”Kevin Durant, NBC Sports
Again, I had no problem with a great player joining a great team. But this is ridiculous. Yet another quote in which Kevin Durant contradicts himself. I was convinced Paul George is the current tone-deaf champion of the NBA; I guess KD wanted to remind us who’s still holding the belt. If you’re joining a team that’s giving you a chance to “go on a run trying to win 16 games” then you’re not joining “an underdog.” This generation seems to always want to have their cake and eat it too. It wasn’t a weak move because Durant wasn’t joining a team he felt was dominant, but he was joining them because they were so dominant they were looking at going undefeated in the Playoffs?
Durant went on to explain that feeling of knowing he’s on a team that enters every season with a realistic possibility to be dominant in the Playoffs; that’s the only thing he was looking for in free agency. The size of the market or anything else didn’t matter for him – it was all about domination.
“That first experience of me going there, it was just like, ‘Nah, I need to experience that again. And I want to be on that stage again.’ And that run that we went, from 2012 from the first round to the Finals, that was the most fun I had playing basketball. And I was like, ‘I need this experience again. I don’t care who it’s with. I want some dudes that want it, too. I just need to experience that again.‘ Because I felt more alive. I felt like this is what I should be doing on Earth at this point, is playing the game. So, when I experienced that run, I’m like, ‘I’m craving for that again.’”Kevin Durant, NBC Sports
So far, his plan is working out. Durant, Harden, and Irving with an open Joe Harris in the corner have been overwhelming for every team in the league. They won’t go 16-0, Jason Tatum took care of that. Who knows, maybe they win it all, and KD says they’re the greatest underdog ever to win the Larry O’Brien trophy.