The fourth of July brought unexpected fireworks to the Bay Area when Kevin Durant announced his decision to join the Golden State Warriors. This bombshell decision brings arguably one of the top three players in the world to the team that set the all time record for most regular season wins last season. In the wake of his announcement, Warriors fans have been left to question whether the move could establish the Golden State franchise as an emerging dynasty, or threaten the chemistry of a record breaking team.
Standing at 6 foot 10 inches with a wingspan of 7 foot 5 inches, Durant was destined to become a basketball phenom. At the young age of 19, Durant was the second pick in the 2007 NBA Draft to the Seattle Supersonics, a franchise which relocated to Oklahoma City as the Oklahoma City Thunder (OKC). During his nine seasons with the Thunder, Durant proved to have an elite offensive arsenal, and a skillset rare in players of his size.
Adhering to the adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, Durant’s move to Golden State elicits a mixed response among the Bay Area fans. While the talent on the Warriors will increase with Durant’s arrival, the style of play that has cultivated a championship team will have to adjust in order to accommodate Durant. With him fitting into the framework, lead scorers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will need to limit their shots at the expense of Durant, a player known for his scoring mindset and ability.
As a member of the Warriors, Durant will look to prove his ability to deliver under pressure. Critics of Durant view his decision to join the Warriors — a team filled with strong players — as an attempt to escape from the responsibility of being a team leader.
Durant’s arrival limits the franchise from an economic standpoint. The Warriors lost Andrew Bogut, their best interior defender, along with core defender Festus Ezeli at the expense of the salary cap.
Durant hasn’t been known for his defensive abilities, and he will be entering a team with a blaring defensive gap. During the Western Conference Finals where OKC battled the Warriors, Durant portrayed the qualities of a strong defender, imparting hope that when provided with an opportunity, he can rise to the occasion.
Throughout his time in the public eye, Durant’s moral character has been respected and unquestioned. His charity, the Kevin Durant Family Foundation, and his reputation as a supportive teammate have provided Durant with a large fan base. Durant’s interest in joining the Warriors stems from his beliefs as a player. Durant saw the Warriors as being team oriented, playing without an ego to succeed together. The Thunder focused their game around stars like Durant and point guard Russell Westbrook, a player infamous for his selfish tendencies on the court.
Whether or not Warrior’s fans support Durant’s move to the Bay Area, the franchise is fortunate to have him. For nearly the same cost of maintaining Barnes’ position, the Warriors acquired an all time great to fill the same role on the team. While change of this magnitude can disrupt a familiar system, it can also pave way for improvement and stability. When it comes to Kevin Durant joining the Warriors, it would be ridiculous for the franchise not to seize the opportunity.