The question if the Warriors are better without Kevin Durant is tricky. Of course, they win more games with the best player in the world on the squad. The problem is the “team” is not better with him.
Kevin Durant has made us forgot just how good the three original Warrior’s all-stars really are and how well they work together. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green without Durant on the floor are reestablishing what this team was built on. The isolation basketball has gone out the window and in its place, a beautiful game is back.
Curry may not be a better complete player than Durant, but he’s a better team player. The fact that Curry has taken a back seat to the best player in the game, further illustrates my point. Curry will do whatever leads the team to more wins. It sucks that Durant coming to his team has overshadowed how great Curry really is. Remember, after the 2015 finals there was real talk about whether Steph and his new style of basketball could overtake LeBron James as the best player in the game. What we’ve forgotten is Steph still deserves a place in the current top five players in the league.
Thompson is streaky but when he’s hot there’s no better shooter in the league. As with most streaky players he needs to be in the flow of the game and be part of a team concept to flourish. Durant being added to the team, taking up shots and playing isolation basketball, makes it harder for Thompson to be the great team player and shooter he has proven to be.
Green is the spark the used to make this team go and he’s back to being that with Durant out. He’s a true leader. He forces himself to take a back seat to sooth Durant’s ego, but since Kevin has departed the lineup it is clear to see Draymond Green was born to lead. The way he has taken charge of the team on the floor making sure everyone is in the right spot and the ball gets where it needs to be is every bit as important to this team this year as Durant has been in the playoffs the last two seasons. Green’s uplifting nature and fieriness is the engine that has always powered this team to greatness with or without Kevin. The problem is because of Durant’s sensitive nature Green actually has to dial back this attribute that makes him so great.
By joining an already great team Durant hindered the progress he had made in inserting himself into the greatest of all time (GOAT) conversation while with Oklahoma City. Since the day Durant announced he was going to join the Warriors I have rooted against them and lost respect for his game. It is clear to see, the other three all-stars have willingly taken a back seat so Durant can feel like the leader, even though he is the third best leader on the team. Now that these three greats have returned to their rightful spots, I’m rooting for them again and hoping Durant doesn’t return to the court until after the “team” brings home another title.
It’s time for Durant to move on, not only for the legacy of Curry, Thompson, and Green but also for him to put himself back in the GOAT debate. I wish him a return to full health (after the finals are over) and the best of luck going forward, as long as it’s not with the Warriors.
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