Golden State Warriors: Are They Better off Without Kevin Durant?
The NBA Finals is just about set after the Golden State Warriors swept the Portland Trailblazers out of contention without one of their star players, Kevin Durant. Durant had an injury in the previous round that prevented him from the conference finals. Here’s the thing, Kevin Durant is one of the best to play the game. However, he also joined one of the greatest regular season teams of all time. It’s no doubt that Kevin Durant has had an impact on this team on the court. But in reality, he just took a great team and made it even better. This isn’t a worst to first type scenario like when LeBron James went to the Cleveland Cavaliers the second time and finally got them to at least the finals.
In reality, the Golden State Warriors are Stephen Curry‘s team. Always have been ever since Mark Jackson was the coach. The numbers prove that. The first statistic to look at is, what is the Warriors record without Durant in his time as a Warrior. Including the postseason, the Warriors are 38-1 when Kevin Durant is not on the floor. I’ve always said that championships are won by teams and not players, so maybe they really are just that good.
One item that all championship teams have is leadership. Kevin Durant was a leader in his college days, but there was some turmoil in Oklahoma City with Russell Westbrook, and he’s been able to put on a sort of “watch this” leadership performance as a Golden State Warrior. There is one consistent leader on the Golden State Warriors. Steph Curry has been there for all three rings and finals appearances. Draymond Green has taken the reigns every once in a while and Klay Thompson is good when he’s on. However, Klay is a catch and shoot baller most times and Draymond Green oftentimes gets emotional and thrown out of games.
Utilizing the same statistic, one can see that the Golden State Warriors are actually worse when Steph Curry is off the court, even if Kevin Durant is there as are the rest of the Warriors. According to NBC Sports Columnist Tom Habersoth, “Since 2014-15, Golden State is just 23-22 without Curry in uniform, outscored by a troubling 53 points in the middle of a dynasty.” On top of that record, Habersoth reports the Warriors are only a plus 4.9 in points as opposed to a dominate plus 16.9 and plus 14.8 with no Kevin Durant.
Even with these statistics, Kevin Durant will go down as an all-time great. The thing about his career is, going to the Warriors means a lot of people will look at him with an asterisk. If he truly wants to prove he is one of the best like we all know he can be. He needs to go to a team like the New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, or Atlanta Hawks. Thus taking a turn at zero and turning them into a contender. Then he can be in the same conversation as LeBron James and Michael Jordan.
How do you feel about the Golden State Warriors and Kevin Durant? Leave a comment below.
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