July 4th, 2016 will be forever known as the day that Kevin Durant abandoned Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder to go to a championship team in the Golden State Warriors.
The same team that just beat him in the Western Conference Finals. Yes, it was a sad day for Thunder fans nationwide and an exciting day for the Bay Area and Warriors bandwagon fans all across the globe, but with one question, will this Warriors team live up to the hype?
On paper, you look at this team and say, “This team is unstoppable. They have the top three shooters in the league, there’s no way that they lose the champiosnhip this season.” We all know chemistry still rules the game of basketball. Durant joined a team that didn’t need him, but was more than welcomed to take him in because he’s a top five player in the NBA. This team just completed a 73-9 regular season but came up short in the NBA finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With the addition of Durant, the Warriors are a pretty west coast version of the Cavaliers, no competition whatsoever. If next year’s 2017 finals include the Cavs-Warriors for the third straight year, in order for the Warriors to win another ring, they would have to do more than just score the ball. They would need to stop LeBron and Kyrie from driving to the basket and Tristian Thompson from grabbing offensive rebounds. Easier said than done right?
Golden State did sign Zaza Pachulia, but gave up Andrew Bogut in a trade with Dallas. They also let go of Festus Ezeli in order to create cap space for Durant. No rim protection on the Warriors team led to more rebounds and drives to the basket for Cleveland. The Warriors don’t need a big man that can score, they just need someone who can protect the rim on defense and rebound the ball.
For example, Roy Hibbert can give you 12-13 points with 9-10 rebounds per game. If he was on a team filled with stars, his role would be much easier than his time with the Pacers and Lakers.
The Warriors have a scary starting five. One that can break plenty of records on the offensive side of the ball. This team can eliminate problems by putting KD at power forward or maybe the center position.
The biggest concern with this Durant signing is that they didn’t get better on the interior. In order for this Warriors team to be the team that everyone expects them to be, they will have to be a great defensive team all around.
We know they’re going to put up the points, but will they stop the other team from scoring the points? If not, don’t be surprised if trades talks start looming around all-star break.