Temper Expectations For Golden State

 

On the 4th of July, Kevin Durant announced he’d leave Oklahoma City to sign with the Golden State Warriors, creating what everyone thought would be the best super-team we’ve ever seen. With a combination of Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green, it looks great on paper, but paper is not always the truth as we’ve seen all too much.

And while I’m still of the belief that Durant’s signing means only better for the Golden State Warriors, there is some room for doubt.

Lack Of Depth

The Warriors and their significant depth helped them accomplish 73-wins, the historic championship run, and more, without it? We may see a different team, with a very different approach. A team that isn’t as versatile or built to beat every player on the floor. Sure, it’s more top heavy, but the fact that the Warriors could beat anyone’s rotation on any given day is certainly something to be looked at.

Golden State have already gotten rid of Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes, but they’ll likely have to offload a couple more pieces if they want to fill the rest of their roster spots. Unless they can get five or six league minimum contracts signed up, they’ll have to be unique and shifty in their approach to “round out” this roster.

Andrew Bogut was an unsung hero on this team, becoming a great rim-protector and sound offensive pick-and-roll pairing. Without him, Golden State will need to shore up their ability to protect the rim and provide mobile, versatile offensive possessions to include other big-men.

That’s a big “if”, because moving someone new into a position or role they haven’t played is very difficult even with an offensive system that’s known.

Comparing it to the “big-three” of Boston or Miami isn’t indicative of this situation because the roster won’t be compiled of free-agents who have never played with each other. But at the same token, you won’t be able to adjust the system in which Golden State plays because the returning players like Steph and Klay, already know and thrive in it.

The rotation and having that deep, right-sized, bench was a calling-card of Golden State and while they haven’t lost it yet, the change and inevitable differences will be noticed.

No one enjoys change and it’s how we react to change that makes us better. So when you think about Golden State, the way they play may not be the same until all the “kinks in the armor” are worked out.

Injuries

This is an obvious but necessary discussion. Kevin Durant has been injured the past three seasons in some capacity whether it’s three weeks or three months. Stephen Curry has had bad ankles, injured shoulders, knee problems, sidelining him for a multitude of time throughout his young NBA career. Shaun Livingston has had his knee struggles in years past.

Bottom line, injuries add up, accumulate, and become incredibly inconsistent. We could witness two or three of this “big-four” injured. It may not happen and is improbable, but there is always this variable to take into consideration when we talk about a less-deep, star-heavy, basketball team.

Chemistry

We’ve seen so called “super-teams” become unreliable, frustrated, and ridden with bad habits. Whether it’s cruising to the finals and not performing or feeling the insurmountable pressure that comes with signing a big-time free agent and/or player.

Basketball is certainly a star-driven league, but more importantly you need to have a culture, drive, and undeniable willingness to work with others in order to win a championship. When you combine four egos, big or small, willing or unwilling, they’re bound to have their differences on or off the court. Whether these differences affect the way Golden State plays, it’s to be determined as the season gets started and progressing.

Many people can look at a situation and think it could work, but many times those same people regret their decision, or don’t foresee what could come of it. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, or Draymond Green, may like taking a “back-seat”, but when they lose because they do or one the players makes a mistake, are they still going to be fine?

Conclusion

In a superficial matter the Durant signing sounds fine and dandy. But when something goes wrong, that is when we’ll see whether these guys can all work together or not. I’m not suggesting it won’t work or will become inadequate, but what I’ve digested is the fact that things don’t always work out the way we plan them. Will this happen with the Durant, big four experiment? Probably not. But we all know it can happen.

Durant made the best basketball decision and good for him in doing so. He’s given Oklahoma City nine years of good service without complaint, frustration, or attitude, giving back to the community in the process.

A stand-up, humble player, Durant will certainly have a learning curve ahead of him, being held to an undeniably outrageous amount of pressure.

 

 

 

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