How Was this Possible?
In one of the anticipated matchups of the year Durant and the Thunder faced off against the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. The Thunder out-played the Dubs in the first four games and went up 3-1 in the series.
Through some miraculous performances by Steph Curry and Klay Thompson the Warriors won two games in a row and tied up the series.
In the last few minutes of the Game 7 Durant had a front row seat to the Warriors completing one of the best comebacks in playoff history.
The Warriors moved on to their second straight finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but just like the Thunder gave up a 3-1 lead.
In one of the most dramatic games the NBA has ever seen the Warriors collapsed, lost, and helped Lebron James bring a championship to the city of Cleveland. The impossible had happened the unbeatable Golden State Warriors had been beaten.
Their future changed, The Warriors began popping up in free agency.
They were reported as interested in Dirk Nowitzki, Demar Derozan and most importantly Durant. Losing in the finals made the Warriors mortal again, they had to improve like the rest of the NBA.
The league seemed more balanced, the Warriors weren’t far ahead of everyone else anymore and they could now be lumped in with the other elite teams like the Cavaliers, Thunder, and Spurs.
Getting Durant changed all that for the Warriors who once again become heavy favorites, while the Thunder have been removed from contention.
After losing to the Thunder in round two the Spurs were seen as the 4th best team but with the retirement of Tim Duncan, and loss of veterans Boris Diaw and David West they slipped even further from the top.
Subsequently trading Serge Ibaka at the draft coupled with Durant’s exit has made the Thunder a fringe playoff team, and Russell Westbrook coupled with this young core is clearly not enough to compete for a championship.
It’s not totally unfair, they did suffer some casualties, the Warriors lose two starters in Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut, and their backup center Festus Ezeli. But the foursome of Durant, Curry, Thompson, and Draymond Green seems to be formidable no matter who they bring in as their fifth.
The Warriors now have the last two players to win MVP who aren’t King James.
In the last 10 years every championship team has included a player that had previously won MVP. We can say this doubles the Warriors chances as there is not another team with this concentration of talent. The Dubs superior talent matched with the Cavaliers dominance of the Eastern Conference has made the NBA feel like a two-man race.
With his victory in the finals, James changed the NBA’s narrative once again.
He brought a championship home to Cleveland and became the hero again. James is the underdog now, given the task of taking down the behemoth that is the Warriors.
Durant is likely to become the villain for the first time in his career, as he and Curry will be dealing the most pressure either of them has ever had.
The Warriors have assembled the greatest super team we have ever seen and it has already been determined that anything less than an NBA Championship is a failure.
James’ Heat didn’t win until their second year together, and the 2012 Lakers struggled to make playoffs and got bounced in the first round.
We don’t know what the future holds for Durant and the Warriors, only time will tell.