We all know there’s been a tension between Kevin Durant and the rest of the Golden State Warriors for a while. Most of it has been on the court, where his playing style doesn’t totally mesh with the rest of the team’s preferred pace and rhythm. But we’ve heard some rumblings in the past of personal conflicts between him and Draymond Green, and here they are again.
The fear for the Warriors is Kevin Durant will leave this upcoming offseason, and that their chemistry will falter this year as a result. The suspension of Green on Wednesday by the team suggests that they’ll take Durant’s side, mostly because they need to appease him to return.
This rubs some of the Warriors the wrong way: Draymond has been a Warrior for years, and is arguably more important to the team than Durant. It’s a rift that probably won’t go away.
But I don’t think it’ll be a problem on the court, and the Warriors should be fine this season. They just need to grind out this three-peat and figure out the rest later. Here are some reasons why:
- There won’t be a challenger as dangerous as the Rockets last year. The Warriors probably don’t need to be as good as they were last year. Last year’s Rockets were an all-time team, and it doesn’t look like they’ll replicate that success this year. If any team rises up to the challenge, I’d expect it to be a team in the East, which the Warriors won’t have to play until the Finals.
- The bench is good again. The Warrior’s bench was really solid during their first two Finals runs, but the last two years have not been kind to them. With Jonas Jerebko, Alfonso McKinnie, Kevon Looney, and Quinn Cook outperforming expectations so far, the bench should be more trustworthy during the postseason.
- Stephen Curry is playing his brand of basketball. Before his injury, Curry was reimagining his unanimous MVP season, and his eagerness to chuck up threes is great for everybody involved. He and Durant were working off each other better than ever before. This year’s offense should be the best this Warrior’s team has ever been.
- DeMarcus Cousin will take the spotlight off the drama. When Boogie returns, the team should be united in helping him put his best foot forward. He’ll need to show off his skills to obtain a rich contract next offseason, and he’ll be a joy to watch during the doldrums of the regular season.
- Trust in the leadership of Steph. All dynasties run into some sort of chemistry problems. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal broke up after their three-peat. The Heatles were short-lived. The Warriors have actually been ahead of the curve so far, in large part because they continue winning. Some dynasties keep their heads because of the personalities of their stars. The Spurs, led by the quiet and trustworthy Tim Duncan, maintained focus for decades. Steph is a similar guy that can navigate his teammates’ feelings and problems. I trust him with my life to keep the locker room together.
The Warriors have the best record in the league, and should be fine oncourt when Steph returns. As long as they keep things together for the next couple weeks (please don’t talk too much, Draymond), they should be fine, and put this in the past like a ponytail. They’re well on their way to their third championship in a row.
If Kevin Durant leaves this offseason, so be it. The Warriors will thank him for his three years here, and they’ll deal with the roster when they have to. This is probably the last year of this core, so let’s savor it and not worry too much about the future. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to watch the best team of all time.