The Golden State Warriors are champions for the second time in three years. Steph, Klay, Dray, Iggy and Steve Kerr add a second ring to their fingers and the team hangs up another banner. For Kevin Durant, this was his first championship and he made sure that the opportunity would not slip away. His excellence on both sides of the ball led the way for a lopsided 4-1 series victory over last year’s champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
At the start of the 2017 season, Kevin Durant made himself a target by joining the Golden State warriors. This was a team that had already established itself as an elite club, with superstar talent and excellent coaching. They had already won a championship in 2015, and had the greatest regular season ever in 2016. Adding Durant to this team just seemed unfair. On top of that, the Warriors were the team that had bounced out KD’s old team, the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals in 2016. The national media and many pundits alike called the decision to join the Warriors a weak move. It was perceived as a “If you can’t beat em’, join em’” type of move. Stacking talent so high that they would have no competition. People did not want to see Durant cheat his way to a championship by riding the coat-tails of Steph and company. So how does he look after the 2017 NBA Finals?
Kevin Durant proved his critics wrong, as he is now garnering the type of respect by the media that only champions and NBA Finals MVP’s receive. Some are going as far as to say he is now the best player in the world. He proved himself on the biggest stage by being the best player on both sides of the court in this series. He constantly made the right play and hit clutch bucket after clutch bucket to stymie the Cavalier’s momentum. He was sensational averaging 35.2 points per game on 55.6% shooting, 47.4% from three and 92.7% from the free throw line. It was insane offensive efficiency. Defensively he also made his mark by averaging 1 steal and 1.6 blocks per game. He was the best player in the series in ISO situations both offensively and defensively. With his size, he shot over any defender in front of him, including Lebron James and could not be stopped. He was hot all series long. His length and versatility on defense gave the Cavs fits. Kevin Durant was the difference in this NBA Finals matchup. He made sure he deserved the Finals MVP, and forced his critics and naysayers to tip their cap to the greatness they witnessed.
For Durant, this is just the beginning. As fantastic as he has always been, he has more work to do to be mentioned as one of the all time greats. The best of the best have multiple titles. Luckily for Durant, the Warriors don’t look to slow down any time soon. The team is set up to keep their core players intact for the years to come. Their chemistry, talent fit and style of play are all unrivaled. They were far and away the best team all year and will be the favorites again next year. So the question is, how many titles can this team reel off? How great will the story of this Warrior’s team be when we look back on their era? The Warriors have Durant, and Durant has the Warriors. Because of that, their future looks glaringly bright, and it was all because Durant made the right decision.