It all started back on July 4th when Kevin Durant announced via The Players Tribune that he was leaving Oklahoma City for Golden State after the Warriors had just blown a 3-1 lead against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. It was only weeks before the announcement his own Thunder team had blown a 3-1 lead against those same Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. Once he made his announcement expectations for this Warriors team went through the roof. They were supposed to be an all-time great and easily win the championship. Durant was supposed to become a two-way force scoring at will and dominating on defense. It seemed like a lot to ask of him and his new team in their first year together. But was it?
As we just seen the Warriors completed an amazing playoff run with a 129-120 win to win the NBA Finals 4-1 over the Cavaliers. Despite LeBron James averaging a triple-double and playing perhaps the best ball of his playoff career, the Cavaliers had very little of a shot at defeating the Golden State juggernaut. The Warriors went 16-1 in the postseason and outside of game 4 against Cleveland and the first half of game 1 against San Antonio in the previous round, Golden State never looked like anything but the best team in the NBA.
Golden State went 67-15 during the regular season despite Durant missing significant time. They posted numbers that ranked among the NBA all-time best and showed that they could put egos aside for the greater good of winning the NBA title. On some nights it was Durant stealing the show, the next night Curry, even Klay Thompson had nights where he signed like when he dropped 60 on the Pacers. The Warriors had so many weapons, it was impossible to know who was going to go off.
People will always talk about Durants decision to leave OKC for Golden State but if we learned anything in this years NBA Finals is that the Warriors needed KD to beat this LeBron James. James was outstanding all year and he was able to elevate his game to a new level in these NBA Finals and had the Warriors not had KD then I don’t seem them beating the Cavaliers. A 4-1 series win with KD would’ve probably been a 4-2 or 4-3 series defeat without him. If his decision was based on what was best for his game and which team put him in the best situation to win a title then he made the correct choice.
Some will never respect his choice and that’s fine but go back and watch the end of games 3 and 5 of this NBA Finals. Watch as Durant takes over and puts the Warriors on his back at times to help beat the Cavaliers. That was what the Warriors needed last year against Cleveland but didn’t have. This year they had it and it was the reason they are champions again. Its also the reason many expect this to be the first of many title appearances by this current core of the Warriors.