Once the Golden State Warriors persuaded Kevin Durant to sign, the only acceptable result for the 2016-17 season automatically became the title. If winning 73 games in the regular season last campaign and beating Chicago Bulls’ long-standing record in the process wasn’t enough, the Warriors went a level up by signing a superstar in a team filled with them.
To add to the shooting prowess of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and the brilliant all-round defensive abilities of Draymond Green, Golden State now have a man who can score from anywhere – be that beyond the arc, with the jump shot inside the three-point line or with the drive.
Questions have obviously been raised over how Steve Kerr will fit all of these superstars in one team and if they get enough minutes; if the ego clashes will come into play; or if the expectations will weight them down, but if they play to even half their respective levels, this regular season is going to be an absolute cruise for them.
After clinching the title in 2015, there were plenty of expectations on the Warriors, and what they went and did was break a record nobody thought would be broken. While they fell short in the finals, thanks to the brilliance of one man who goes by the name of LeBron James, Golden State still had a successful season last year.
However, by adding Durant, even winning 74 games in the regular season will not be enough. Winning the Western Conference title will not do. The Golden State Warriors will need to get to that NBA Finals and, at the end it all, be the team holding up the glinting, golden trophy.
Durant has spoken time and again about how much fun he is having with his new team and how there are no egos, no tensions, and about how it is just about going on the floor and playing some basketball.
All that is fine and well to say during the offseason, after practices, and during preseason games; how Durant feels and Curry feels and Thompson feels and Green feels will be known when the regular season gets into its full swing.
Already there are reports suggesting there is resentment around the league as far as the Golden State Warriors are concerned. Once they signed Durant from the rival Oklahoma City Thunder, they turned into a “man they are fun and let’s root for them” team to “no, that was not cool, that was too much” franchise, and that is never an easy situation to deal with.
James and the Miami Heat had to do that when the big three announced their decision to team up in Florida, so how the likes of Curry, Durant, Green, Thompson and the rest of the players cope with the situation will be an interesting subplot of what is going to be a ridiculously-good season.
Let’s face it – the Golden State Warriors are going to get to the finals again, and the way the Eastern Conference is shaping up, the defending champions Cleveland Cavaliers are also likely to be there. So, at the end of it all, after all those games, all the talk, all the points scored, all the records broken, all the high-fives, it looks like it will all come down to those two teams again and if the addition of Durant will be enough to stop James from winning another NBA title for his hometown franchise or not, only time will tell.