I’m not worried about too many shooters with only one ball. And I’m not worried about team chemistry, or lack of team depth, or anything like that. Durant is going to fit in great. The Warriors are going to be awesome and they are not just going to score a million 3s, they are going to make two million layups from all the backdoor cuts through stretched defenses. Kudos to the Warriors for getting him, kudos to KD for making the tough move to leave OKC, kudos to the rest of the death lineup for being so selfless and recruiting him.
My reservations are that this is going to make it too easy, and it’s going to remove the great satisfaction that comes from not just winning, but winning with great performances from a great team at a moment when nothing less that absolute greatness is necessary. There will never be a game as satisfying as Klay Thompson’s game 6 against OKC or even Steph’s game 5 against the Cavs last year (when he put the $9.5 million dollar a year Dellavedova away with signature crossovers). The Warriors have little left to prove and great performances may no longer be needed. Now, they are so good that the only pressure is in choking. Just play average, and you’re a champion.
And when it happens, I’ll celebrate. But not like game 6 against OKC. Instead, I’ll likely celebrate as I did when the Niners beat the Chargers in the Superbowl by about 100 points in 1995. Remember that one? The Niners nemesis was the Cowboys and they had some great rivalry games. When the Cowboys seemed to have the upper-hand, the Niners went and got one of the Cowboys stars–Dion Sanders. With Sanders, everything was very easy. They blew everyone out and restored the championship to San Francisco.
Steve Young said it got the monkey off his back, giving him his big Superbowl win–and I guess it did and that’s how he’s remembered. If Durant doesn’t want to be Karl Malone, then the Steve Young model is a good one.
But Young won that season without ever having to make a pressure play. Seems to me that the way you become truly legendary is by winning the toughest of games when you are down. Montana did it. Rice did it. Klay Thompson did it. Madison Bumgarner did it. All the top basketball greats have had such a moment and LeBron’s finally came this year. I’m sure that Eli reminds Peyton about this at the family Thanksgiving. No one cares if you are the winning QB because of a great defense.
I’m not sure Durant’s going to get a chance to do it. I’m wondering for how long people are going to peg Curry as someone who didn’t play biggest in the biggest of games. It might be unfair because he has had some great big games. But still, his most epic game is probably the OKC regular season game. Not quite the same thing.
If all goes accordingly next year, the Warriors emphatically beat the
Cavs Celtics in 5 games, and Curry and KD take turns hitting open jumpers (I’m guessing that Thompson takes 8 shots and asks to be traded after the season), and it’s great. It really is. But I think the highest moments of this Warriors team may have come and gone.
And for the Bay Area (my Bay Area, which means a south bay fan who supported mostly SF teams and not the Raiders and A’s and doesn’t know about anything before the 80s), it means that Joe Montana is going to stay #1 in the legendary category, followed by Madison Bumgarner, followed by Tim Lincecum. All three were their teams singular stars who put the team on their back and won the closing game with greatness. Klay Thompson gets an honorable mention, so does Steph Curry, and even Draymond got really close in game 7. But I think the Warriors lost their chance to have another moment like that and that’s why I’m not so happy today.
Of course sports are weird and all sorts of things can happen. Maybe Zaza will end up being the biggest move of the off-season. Maybe the Knicks will win with a revived Rose and Anthony. Three potential twists that would make next year really exciting.
- Celtics get Westbrook. The NBA needs to make this happen. Westbrook v. Durant in the finals is must see tv and the only thing that can save the season. The Warriors will still crush the Celtics, but Westbrook will single-handedly take the C’s to the brink while simultaneously blowing critical 3 minute stretches when he turns the ball over repeatedly and misses 4 wild shots while failing to pass the ball to Jerebko despite being triple teamed.
- Cavaliers get Wade. Obvious. They won’t win, but it will be fun to watch the old guys (LeBron included) go down as old guys do–chippy. Get Paul Pierce on the Cavs while their at it.
- The Clippers get to the western conference finals. The Warriors will sweep them, but it will still be really satisfying. The bigger the blowouts, the more whining by Blake and CP, the better. There will be nothing fun watching the Warriors sweep the aging and graceful Spurs. Nothing.