This was always the plan.
From the moment Draymond Green started his pursuit of Kevin Durant following the Golden State Warriors dramatic collapse against Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 the plan was to put together a squad that could stand up to injuries, suspension, teams built to beat them and anything else that an NBA season may throw at them.
The Golden State Warriors proved to be an incredible team before Kevin Durant ever arrived. They had already won the NBA Championship in 2015 and in 2016 they won an NBA record 73 in the regular season. The Warriors looked set to claim back to back titles until Draymond Green found himself suspended for a flagrant foul.
It was a foot in the door for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and even with the incredible record they had amassed and it showed how small the margin or error was at this level of the game. The Cavs came back from a 3-1 series deficit, winning three straight games and claiming the franchises first NBA title.
It was after the game 7 loss to Cleveland that Draymond made his now famous move…
A few years on, having won two NBA titles since, and going for three straight titles, the Golden State Warriors now head towards game one of the 2019 NBA finals against the Toronto Raptors as favourites despites Durant’s absence.
Many have used the teams success since Durant suffered a calf strain against the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semi finals as proof that the Warriors do not need the former NBA MVP. However, that misses the point completely.
Durant’s addition was a move that was always meant to increase the Warriors margin of error. This great team can afford to lose one of the top five players in the game today and STILL look like they are the team to beat.
whether Durant makes another appearance in a Warriors jersey is anyone’s guess. Many are suggesting that his calf injury is a lot worse than the Warriors have been letting on. There are a lot of people who believe he will not play a part in the NBA finals series.
What will be forgotten are all of the times Durant did step up and give this team the advantage they needed to get to where they are today. Not just to this years finals series, but throughout the previous two season when Durant proved to best the best player on the court time and time again, even if he didn’t really need to be.
Its hard to say whether the Golden State Warriors would be going for their third straight NBA championship if Durant had never joined them. One thing is certain though, this journey would have been a whole lot harder had Durant never joined the Warriors on this incredible run.