The Celtics get their first look at the unnecessarily talented Warriors tonight. Durant’s decision to go to the Warriors was certainly an unpopular one. Mainly because he chose to go to a team that had the best regular season in the history of the NBA. He also chose a team that had knocked his team out of the playoffs.
Regardless of what he did and why he did it, the decision to chose the Warriors was his to make. Now, the dust has settled, and the Warriors are 11 games in with Durant in the mix. So, what impact on the team has Durant’s acquisition made?
The cost of signing Durant.
Durant basically took over for Harrison Barnes, but his arrival also forced the Warriors to trade Andrew Bogut. The Warriors also had to move on from Leandro Barbosa, Maurice Speights, Festus Ezeli, and Brandon Rush. They still have two of their most productive bench players in Livingston and Iguodala. I would have argued to Golden State’s front office that scoring wasn’t a problem last season, but depth was. Still, if I was playing franchise mode 2K16, I would have gone after Durant.
Who wants to join the super super team?
The Warriors managed to add David West, Zaza Pachulia, and rookie Patrick McCaw. The impact of adding a major star to the starting lineup, while depleting the depth is apparent through the first eleven games. Last season, their primary starting five accounted for 68. 2% of the team’s points. This season, their primary starting five have accounted for 76. 5% of the points. Their point totals are up 2. 13% with 117. 4 this season versus 114. 9 last season.
The Warriors have adapted a slightly different style of play this year with Durant. They’re a better scoring team from inside the three point line by a substantial margin. Their outside shooting is not quite as good, in large part due to Klay Thompson struggles shooting the ball. Rebounding is another area where they are apparently regressing. Kerr has been pulling Pachulia early, and going to a small lineup earlier than he did last season. Bogut’s absence can be seen in both the rebounding stats, as well as, the block stats.
The Warriors are still an unbelievably talented offensive team, but their not that much better than last year’s team. It’s still early in the year, and team’s don’t always forge indicative statistics until later in the season.
Get a ring, or be the best should’ve could’ve ever,
It’s hard not to envy Golden State, but it’s also easy to root against them. The entire structure of the NBA’s salary cap is designed to prevent exactly what happened with Durant joining an already great team. The new CBA that is about a week away from being formally agreed upon has several provisions that will prevent this situation from being able to happen again. Nobody did anything wrong, but it wasn’t supposed to happen.
Whether or not Durant’s decision will result in a ring is yet to be determined. If Golden State fails to win a ring, then it will be one of the greatest failures in all of sports. The Warriors better have a healthy roster come playoff time because they clearly sacrificed the depth to get Durant.