Monday, October 24, 2016

Does Durant's move to Golden State hurt the NBA?

The NBA season tips off Tuesday with a great first week of games, and I will be watching and telling stories about as much of it as I can. With these final AugBball NBA Preview post(s), I'll share some of my opinions that I didn't work into parts 1-3, which you can find at the links at the bottom.

I have two problems with Kevin Durant's move to Golden State and the consensus reaction to it.

First, it essentially eliminates OKC as a top tier team. No team has been better than OKC this decade. Championship counters can use their kindergarten formulas to say this team or that team has been better because OKC didn't win a title. But injuries are real and they affected the final outcomes. And a clear headed look would say that Lebron James's Heat, his Cavs, the Warriors, and the Spurs have not been on a different level than the KD/Russell Westbrook led Thunder. So as a selfish fan, the league just got worse because it lost a great team. The coverage of KD's decision was blanketed by damage controlling writers and talkers who vigorously defended Durant's "right to choose where he works." That's elementary and goes without saying. But a fan's "right" or purpose is to like or not like stuff and I think it's as valid for a fan to hate that KD left OKC as it is for KD to do what's in his best interest.

Second, as Jeff Van Gundy has said, the joy and the unpredictability of the NBA fan experience took a huge blow.

The consensus seems to be there are only three logical conclusions to this story:

1) Golden State wins it all and nobody is left in wonder because they would be dramatically underperforming if they don't win it all.

2) They will "choke." At least I assume that's how the media would treat anything but a Warriors title run. 

3) The third possibility is that Lebron continues to prove he's made of steel and he engineers an upset of epic proportions. We (at least I) would then conclude that not only is he as good as MJ was, but better. But of those three outcomes, only one is interesting and unpredictable. If KD hadn't gone to the Warriors so he could "shoot open threes and layups," we would be expecting the Thunder and Clippers, and many other teams, to have a chance to capture our imaginations.

What do the media members think?

A couple NBA preview shows recently talked about the consensus opinion among general managers (69% say the Warriors win it all, 31% say the Cavs, and only 1 GM says that ANY OTHER TEAM will make the Finals on each side) that the NBA is a two team race and whether or not that is a good thing for the fans and the game. You have read Chris and my opinion. Now hear theirs:

Link to full Zach Lowe interview, which I edited from to make the video above.

Do you think Durant's move to Golden State damaged the game?

Are you more interested in the 2016-17 NBA season now than you were the day after the Cavs completed their historic comeback to win last season's Finals?

Let me know what you think. And stay tuned for more short posts with my opinions, and those of my expert friends, about this season's NBA!

Links to prior AugBball NBA Preview posts:

Part 1: Lebron James is the best player/coach/GM combo in the league, and that's the biggest NBA "story line"

Part 2: AugBball NBA Preview Part 2 with special guest contributors Dr. Kirk Munsayac and Glen Miller

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