When the Warriors signed SF Kevin Durant, the basketball world went nuts. An eight-time all-star added to a team that went 73-9 in the regular season. And has a roster consisting of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Just Wow! The big 4 were sure to win a championship and finish first in the west. But with Kevin Durant out indefinitely, does everything change? Well it just might.
As many of you probably already know, the Western Conference is very tough. The Spurs sit only 5 games back of the Warriors, followed by the Rockets who sit only 3 games back of the Spurs. The Warriors next 6 games include: Bulls, Knicks, Hawks, Celtics, Timberwolves, and Spurs. Four of those games are against teams in playoff contention. The Spurs next 6 games include: Pacers, Pelicans, Timberwolves, Rockets, Kings, and Warriors. Three of those games are against teams in playoff contention. Also, if KD is not back by the playoffs the Spurs, Rockets, and even the Jazz all have a chance of potentially knocking them out. Especially the Spurs because of their lock down defense, great ball movement, and high powered offense. Not only the Spurs, but the Rockets with James Harden, the Lou Williams trade, and their perimeter shooting, can be a lot to handle. This could all be too much for the Warriors without Durant. And even if they get him back he most likely won’t be 100%.
Let’s look at this from a different perspective. If the Warriors got Kevin Durant back by the playoffs, and made it to the finals, are they still the favorites? No, because of the Cavs. First of all, they have the best player in basketball, Lebron James. They also have two other superstars in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. That itself could contend with the Warriors, but there’s more. They are getting a huge asset in J.R. Smith back soon, and have just made a huge signing in Andrew Bogut. Not to mention Kyle Korver’s knock down shooting and Tristan Thompson’s rebounding. Their great depth, fast play, and ability to spread the floor is a lot for any team to handle. On top of that, they know how to beat the Warriors and have already beat them this year. They also beat them in the finals last year with a much worse team. Lebron James’ crying might have actually worked.
Are the Warriors screwed without KD? I guess we’ll see.
Photo: (NBC Sports)