June 17, 2017 by The Waterboy Report
The Warriors did what most people expected them to do at the beginning of the 2016-2017 season – absolutely dominate the NBA. After breaking a record for most wins in a season with 73 in the 2015-2016 season, they then added former MVP Kevin Durant.
The Golden State Warriors weren’t able to win more regular season games with Durant however, once the playoffs started, the Warriors did something that the NBA had never witnessed before. The Warriors won their first 15 games of the playoffs, sweeping their first three opponents and going up 3-0 on the defending NBA champions. Many were expecting the Warriors to win Game 4 against the Cavs and be the first team in NBA history to go a perfect 16-0 in the playoffs. The Cavs came out desperate and determined in game 4, as they realized all they had to do to win was break the record for most points in a quarter, most points in a half, most 3-pointers in a half and most 3-pointers in an NBA finals game. They did just that and were able to prevent the Warriors from doing the unthinkable.
However, the Warriors would then go on to win Game 5 and are your 2017 NBA Champions.
Now that all the dust has settled and we have finally reached the conclusion of the 2017 NBA Playoffs, there’s only one thing that lingers – all the criticism that surrounds Kevin Durant for being taking the easy way out and joining a super team.
When you take into consideration that a former NBA MVP joined a team with three all-star players, it’s no wonder so many NBA fans are upset. However, when you analyze the situation that Durant was in following the 2016 season, it’s more than understandable why Durant left Oklahoma.
In 2012, Durant managed to make the NBA Finals with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The only thing standing in the way of Durant and his first championship was the Miami Heat. But this wasn’t just the Miami heat team that drafted the 8-time all-star Dwayne Wade. They also added a 7-time all star in Chris Bosh and undoubtedly the best player in the world LeBron James. Wade, Bosh and James were all in the prime of their careers in the 2012 season while Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were just 23 years of age.
The Miami Heat crushed the young stars on the Thunder winning the series 4-1 as LeBron finally picked up his first championship.
Following the 2014 season, LeBron then decided to head back home to Cleveland – the place he left to win a few championships with the Miami Heat super team. This is where he would create another super team as he, Irving and Love made an alliance.
Basically, LeBron left Cleveland to join two all-stars in Miami and then left Miami to join two younger all-stars in Cleveland. Cleveland became an instant favourite to win the 2015 NBA championship.
The only team that had a remotely decent chance at taking down the new and improved Cleveland Cavaliers squad were the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors had drafted very well in recent years and had a core of Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry.
By building their team organically, the Warriors were able to take down the Cavaliers in the 2015 season. However, the 2016 playoffs ended a little different, as the Warriors would blow a 3-1 series lead against the Cavs in the Finals and LeBron brought a championship back to Cleveland for the first time since 1964.
Kevin Durant’s contract expired at the end of the 2016 season and he had a huge decision to make. Should he stick with Westbrook and the Thunder and try to win a championship legitimately or should he follow in the footsteps of LeBron and join a super team in order to have the best chance at winning a championship. Durant of course chose the latter.
Durant realized that he would not only have to defeat the organically created super team of the Golden State Warriors, but he would also have to defeat the LeBron James created super team Cleveland Cavaliers. That would be quite a tall task to defeat two different teams with three all-stars each to capture a championship. Durant understandably took the easy way out for a chance to win.
Furthermore, Kevin Durant likely felt that he was robbed of a fair opportunity to compete for a championship back in the 2012 season when he had to go up against three veteran all-stars who came together to manhandle the NBA.
Five years later, roles were reversed and karma struck as it would be Durant’s team dominating LeBron’s team to win the finals 4-1.
What goes around comes around. Checkmate, Mr. James.
By Luke Appia – Statboy