On June 12, 2017, the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 4-1 series after meeting for the third consecutive year in the NBA Finals. Whether you were a Warriors fan or not, all eyes were on Golden State’s season after the addition of former Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant. After a relatively slow pre-season, many speculated that the Warriors might have trouble finding their rhythm with Durant. In his final season with the Thunder, Durant had averaged 28.2 points per game and made a formidable team with fellow Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook. However, Durant more than delivered during his first season with the Warriors, averaging 25.1 points per game, a team-high 8.1 rebounds, and propelling the Warriors to several crucial wins. Durant’s final’s performance was by far the most impressive of his heavily scrutinized season. He played a key role in the first three games of the series, all of which the Warriors won. In Game 1, he posted 38 points, 8 assists, and 9 rebounds, prompting LeBron James to simply reply “KD” when asked in a post-game interview what stood out to him from his team’s Game 1 loss. The Cavaliers quickly realized that they would have to readjust their game strategy if they were to have a chance at the title, and were finally able to deliver in a Game 4 win that prevented the Warriors from ending the series in Cleveland.
To Be or Not To Be….A Super Team??
A topic that came up over and over this NBA season was whether or not the Warriors were a “superteam”. When asked whether he had considered himself to be part of a super team during his time with the Miami Heat, LeBron James said “I don’t believe I’ve played for a super team. I don’t believe in that”. This raised some eyebrows from fans who remember that he played alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and won two NBA titles while doing so. But what exactly is a super team, and why is this viewed by other NBA teams and the general public as a bad thing? Its pretty simple – a super team just means a team with multiple “superstar” players who can consistently lead their teams to wins even when some of their strongest teammates are absent. We view these players as the central figures on their respective teams. When we think of the Warriors, we think of Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, and Klay Thompson – and now, Kevin Durant. It is not unprecedented to have that many recognizable superstars on the same team. There are several other teams throughout NBA history that could have been considered super teams, including Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. What is more impressive is the fact that all of these players can have good chemistry and play well together, rather than compete for stats and limelight.
The trend of a single superstar player leading the charge and carrying their teams hasn’t totally died out, but this is becoming less of a sought-after strategy for team GM’s and coaches. Russell Westbrook of the OKC Thunder found himself in a frustrating situation after averaging a historic triple-double for the season and still not making it past the first round of the playoffs.
Its the Warrior’s World; We’re Just Living in It
Super teams like the Warriors undoubtedly annoy some NBA fans who don’t want to see the same teams dominate year after year. But whether we like it or not, Kevin Durant’s standout performance and integration into the team dynamic is worthy of admiration. The addition of Durant to the roster has somehow made the Golden State Warriors even more of a powerhouse than they already were.
After an exciting season and playoff series, one thing is clear – the Warriors are here to stay.
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