Ever since KD came to the Warriors in the summer of 2016 all I’ve been hearing is “The Warriors didn’t even need him.” Well since he’s gotten there it’s looked like they need him. And I don’t mean need him in the sense of they would be terrible without him because obviously that’s not the case. But they need him to do the thing they want to do the most………..win championships.
KD saved those boys if we’re being honest. Look back at the Warriors run. They beat a short handed Cavs team in 2015. I’m not taking anything away from their championship. They did what they had to do to win. I don’t do that asterisk crap. Then the next year they came back with the record setting season but failed to seal the deal. They were on the brink of elimination and needed Klay to go nuts to survive and of course fell to a fully loaded Cleveland in the Finals. With the aura of invincibility being cracked and the Warriors heading into presumably their third consecutive championship campaign, it might have looked like the boys from the Bay were vulnerable. But they stopped all those whispers by acquiring Kevin Durant in the 2016 off-season. With the addition of the best player in the league (it’s been that way since 2014, cry about it), they put themselves head and shoulders above the rest of the league which was proven by their 16-1 postseason run en route to their second championship. I’m not one to speculate but the probability of that core running roughshod through the league again for a third straight year wasn’t high. Teams and players adjust, players get tired, things happen. Getting KD extended their championship lives through the duration of his tenure, however long that may be (News flash, it’s probably going to be over this year).
To put it simply, KD is the best player and gives them the best chance to win. Neither Klay nor Steph has had a particularly great Finals series up to this point. Durant has. KD is the only player that opposing teams have not been able to provide an answer for. Since he’s been added to the team, any time things have gotten a little tight KD has been the one to pull them through. Of course in his first season with the team they steamrolled everyone. The team they lost to in seven games the previous year weren’t remotely a match for them in the Finals. But in the 2018 Western Conference Finals, they had a problem on their hands. Houston gave them everything they could handle and KD had to make Thriller for them to make it out alive. The physicality of the series made Steph uncomfortable and he wasn’t his normal self. Klay had one good game that series and each time they were in a jam they had to go to Durant. He carried them to the tune of 30 ppg and the eventual series win. And of course, they thrashed Cleveland once again. Fast forward to this postseason. They split home games against the Clippers in the first round, including a monumental 30 pt collapse. Then KD said “You know who I am” and turned all the way up. His individual dominance gave them the separation needed to advance. I’m glad he decided to put them away. We can’t have a team whose best player looks like Chris from The Wire running around talking trash in the playoffs. Houston gave them fits again with Golden State scraping by for the second year in a row. Through the first four games, KD was still on the “You Know Who I Am” tour. He scorched the Rockets while his teammates struggled to find themselves. They came out 2-2 and nearly overcame huge second half deficits in both losses on Durant’s hot hand. He kept them in it through three quarters of game 5 as well while he still was putting Steph and the boys names on a group project he was doing all the work for. Then when he went down with the calf injury, Curry finally decided to show up. Klay did his thing the first half of Game 6 and Steph took them home. In no way does me likening KD to Michael Jackson devalue Steph or Klay, Those guys are really good. But we all know MJ is the show. Jackie and Jermaine gotta lead some songs every now and then too. Can’t just show up, stand in the background and collect a check.
The fact is the Warriors needed Durant. To say that they didn’t is most likely the result of people being salty that he decided to sign there in the first place. Don’t let hurt feelings get in the way of your logic and understanding. The days of the starters sitting fourth quarters are over. Those guys would have had a hell of a time maintaining their dominance moving forward as constructed without Durant. You can feel however you want about KD joining them but that doesn’t stop facts. And Draymond can say whatever he wants but he’s not about to act like he wasn’t begging that boy to join the group like they were about to perform at the Motown 25th Anniversary special.