Golden State shocked the world two days ago by signing all-star Kevin Durant. A move that many considered to be their ticket to a third straight NBA Finals. The downside of that transaction, was the fact that they had to trade away Andrew Bogut, and let go of Festus Azili to create more cap space. Suddenly their ‘strength in numbers’ wasn’t quite as strong, and they risked having a top heavy line-up. They’ve made the most of their remaining cap space though, signing David West, and Zaza Pachulia. Does this move stamp their way to the NBA Finals? Is the NBA Finals already won?
The Warriors, who set the single season record last season by going 73-9, just got a whole lot better; and that is scary. Golden State already has Stephen Curry who is arguably the best player in the league, and now they just added Kevin Durant, whom most would place at the number 3 spot. Let’s not forget about Klay Thompson either, who is easily a top 3 shooting guard in the league. Long story short, this offense has a lot of fire power.
There are some questions going into the season though, like, who’s going to give up the ball? Kevin Durant: 19 shots per game, Stephen Curry: 20 shots, Klay Thompson: 17 shots, and Draymond Green: 10 shots. That’s a combined 66 shots per game. Needless to say, someone is going to have to shoot it less, which I’m not exactly sure will happen over night. Is Klay Thompson going to be able to accept that role?
Another issue is Kevin Durant himself. Many reports have said that Russell Westbrook was a huge reason that he left Oklahoma. Durant had grown frustrated with Westbrook, and his ball dominance on offense, that often stagnated the ball movement. In other words, one of the main reasons Durant left OKC was because his point guard didn’t pass the ball enough. Really Kevin? That’s your reason; and the answer is Stephen Curry, who put up 20 shots a game? Kevin may find himself frustrated once again on the Warriors, because he will most likely be taking less shots than he did in Oklahoma.
While the Warriors did sign Zaza, and David West, that doesn’t exactly fill their void at center. David West will be 36 this year, and has seen a decline in his production. Last year, he only averaged 7.1 ppg, and 4 rpg in 18 minutes for San Antonio. At this point it appears his only motivation for playing his one more chance at a ring. Zaza Pachulia had one of his better seasons last year for the Mavericks, averaging 8.6 ppg, and 9.4 rpg; but the fact is that he is no Andrew Bogut. Zaza has been a career back-up, while Bogut has started 98% of his career. Bogut offers a team size, and rim protection, something Zaza cannot.
We’ll see if David West has gotten over this:
The Warriors will be a tough team to stop next year, no question. On paper they have arguably the most powerful offense, ever. However, a lot of uncertainty surrounds them. There are concerns about their defense, their ability to keep that much star power happy, and the problems they may face against teams with dominant big’s. In other words, the season isn’t over people. There’s a lot of basketball to be played.