If you’ve got at least a passing interest in the NBA, then yesterday you may have heard the biggest free agency news since “The Decision”: Kevin Durant was leaving the Thunder to join the Warriors.
Yep, a top 3 player in the league is joining the 73-win best team in the league. (Yes, GSW didn’t win the championship in June, but they were still clearly IMO the best team last season).
Personally I was hoping that KD wasn’t going to join the Warriors, just from the point of view that it’s going to be boring in terms of who’s going to win the title next season, and for next few seasons assuming the Warriors keep this big 4 of KD, Curry, Thompson & Green together. They won a record 73 games and have upgraded their “death line-up” by swapping Harrison Barnes, who isn’t actually that good, for Kevin Freaking Durant! If you don’t mind waiting 10 months you can back them to win the 16/17 title at 1.91 at a few books which is a joke price. They were 1.91 coming into these playoffs just gone. Now all their main competitors are worse due to players leaving/retiring or ageing: SAS, Cavs, OKC & Clippers.
An alternative bet if you’re so inclined may be to bet the under on an over-inflated win total. With signing KD and letting a few guys go they won’t be as deep. They broke the record last season and with all the media scrutiny surrounding that they won’t be busting a gut to break it again. After this post season, with the injuries they suffered in the playoffs their priority should be to rest players a lot more during the season, coast to the no.1 seed and make sure that their stars are healthy for the playoffs. They’ll be so good that they can rest players and coast to 65+ wins. Add in the chances that Curry will never have another season like his 15/16 self, and the chance of injuries and any win totals in the 70s should likely be opposed (assuming the odds are around 1.83 – 1.91).
People may draw comparisons to Lebron leaving to form a big 3 at Miami, and that they “only” ended up winning 2 titles (out of 4 Finals appearances). Well, it is true GSW may “only” win 2 more titles, which would be a under achievement. But this GSW team is far superior to Lebron’s Heat. This team could very well be the greatest team of all time. Curry and Durant are 2 of the top 3 players in the league. If you have 1 of the those guys with 4 average players you’ve already got an above average offense. Klay Thompson is another high volume, high efficiency player. Then there’s Iggy & Draymond who are 2 of the elite defenders in the game, and Draymond is unique in that he can guard positions 1-5, run the point and shoot 3s. It may be interesting to see how this team starts the season, how they gel etc…but after they start absolutely trouncing even the best teams it’s going to get boring. No team is going to be able to successfully defend a team with multiple players with the 3 point range that they have. And scoring on them is going to be very difficult too.
Back to “The Decision”, and I think that this is worse in the narrative point of view as Lebron wasn’t joining the best team in the league, and he was leaving a team that he was carrying single handedly…Then just when you think they can’t get any more unlikable, they sign noted dirty bastard Zaza Peculiar to a bargain contract!
But TBH if I was KD I would have done the same thing: leave a dump like Oklahoma City to live in the Bay Area with multiple championships seemingly guaranteed.
This is a massive step forward for OKC finally becoming irrelevant. If you don’t know the history of how & why this team relocated from Seattle, here’s some essential viewing:
Sonicsgate: Requiem for a Team