The Warriors Should NOT Sign Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant is undoubtedly the most coveted NBA free agent on the market for 2016. As a volume scorer, solid rebounder, and overall brilliant basketball player, the man can be the centerpiece for any NBA franchise.
Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors, coming off the greatest regular season in NBA history, plan to heavily pursue Durant. After falling one win shy of an NBA championship in 2016, the Warriors should look to upgrade their roster with a marquee free agent signing, right? WRONG. Here are four reasons why the Warriors should absolutely NOT sign Kevin Durant.
1. The Warriors team chemistry is too beautiful to mess with
Perhaps the Warriors front office has forgotten the fact that they just posted the greatest regular season record ever. Perhaps they haven’t considered that their team, by all advanced metrics, put together the single greatest season in the history of the NBA. Perhaps they have not realized that it was a minor miracle that they lost the NBA Finals! Sure, they didn’t cap it off with a championship — a fact not easily forgotten — but you can’t ignore the sheer fact that they should have won it.
This team put together such a great run, not because it had the best players at every position, but because all of their players fit perfectly into their roles. Draymond Green provided a multi-purpose threat. Klay Thompson served as an offensive force. Andrew Bogut protected the lane. Andre Iguodala played tenacious, lockdown defense. All the players who came off the bench knew what was needed of them, played hard, and executed. Every single one of these guys played their roles perfectly around their best player, their centerpiece, Steph Curry. When you put that together, you get a nearly unbeatable team, operating on two-thousand metric tons of team chemistry.
Enter Kevin Durant.
You’re now considering adding a legitimate superstar to a championship-caliber squad that will indubitably shift the entire team dynamic. Yes, KD is a great player, but no, the Warriors do not need to sign him. Signing KD will mean forfeiting pieces that were so valuable to Warriors success. Signing KD will create a variable of uncertainty and unfamiliarity with the system. Signing KD, a supremely talented player, does not mean that he will fit into the system better than the previous guys, because that’s probably impossible.
The Warriors, as they are, will be the heavy favorites to win the 2017 NBA Finals. Why jeopardize that by making major changes, when they clearly don’t need to?
2. Steph Curry needs to be the unquestioned centerpiece for the Warriors
For the majority of the 2016 NBA season, the media paraded Steph Curry as the best player in the NBA. Although they quickly backtracked following his poor performance in the 2016 NBA Finals against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, there’s no doubt that he is one of the two best players in the world. When the game is on the line, he needs to be the guy that the Warriors can lean on. After all, he has won two consecutive MVP awards. But what happens when Durant, the last guy not-named-Curry to win an MVP award, is on the court with him? Who’s going to run the offense? Whose job is it to take over? Who’s going to take the shot with the game on the line?
Sure, having one-too-many superstars to decide who’s the centerpiece may not be the biggest problem in the world, but it’s a dynamic that needs to be considered when constructing a championship team. Just look at what happened in OKC with Durant and Westbrook. The wrong superstar kept trying to take over at the wrong time. It didn’t make the Thunder a bad team, but it evidently didn’t help them to a championship. This Warriors team is already too strong to take the risk of having an unhealthy dynamic between Curry and Durant.
3. Too much talent may yield absolute diminishing returns
The NBA is not the MLB. You can’t just put out all the best players in the world and be the best team in the world. You have to consider the different skills that the players bring to the table when constructing an optimal team. What happens whenever the US assembles a super-team for international competition? They have to battle it out with teams like Spain, who feature good-but-not-great NBA talent.
My point is this: The Warriors finished 73–9 in 2016. It’s actually impossible to perform significantly better than this over the course of an 82 game season — I don’t care who is on your team. Why try to squeeze in another superstar, who’s best abilities may not optimally fit with an already great team?
4. Kevin Durant is not a winner
The entire Warriors squad is full of champions from top to bottom. Steve Kerr is a champion. Steph Curry is a champion. Klay Thompson? Champion. Draymond Green? Champion. Festus Azeli? Champion. Kevin Durant? Not a champion.
I’m not suggesting Kevin Durant won’t hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy one day, but I am definitively saying that Kevin Durant, a superstar of the highest order, has the potential to hold back a team of champions. Look at what happened in the OKC Thunder vs. GS Warriors 2016 Western Conference Finals. In the series’ biggest moments, when the Thunder needed Durant, their best player, to take over the game, he was seemingly absent. To be a championship team, you need your best player to show up in the biggest moments; instead, KD drifted around the court and let Russell Westbrook self-destruct en route to a gigantic collapse against the Warriors.
Remember when we wanted to call Kevin Durant the “Slim Reaper?” The nickname holds aura of the coveted “killer instinct” that people rave about when talking about Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Instead of embracing that nickname, Durant asked to be called “The Servant.” Are you FREAKING SERIOUS, KD?! He was right, though. Durant’s play shows his passive-sounding, self-dubbed nickname to be the epitome of the player he is on the court — one that doesn’t take over in big moments to deliver championships. That’s what winners do. Kevin Durant is not a winner.
I’ve given four plausible reasons for why I believe that Kevin Durant will actually make the Warriors worse. This is, by no means, a guarantee. He may fit the system, perform unbelievably, and lead the Warriors to an undefeated season. The only thing I’m saying is: If you’re already the heavy favorites to win the NBA Finals, why make a drastic change and risk losing everything?