If NBA fan fiction was an actual literary genre, it would be a safe bet to assume that any book regarding the Golden State Warriors and their dominance during their four-year run would be a best seller.
Authors would receive six figure deals for their conspiracy theories on the Dubs’ success. They would capitalize off of knowing that people would pay in droves to read anything suggesting that the Warriors’ rise to prominence is void of hard work. Like they didn’t only draft well, developed their players, and built a culture that’s powered by joy, mindfulness, compassion, and competition. These authors would also make a killing off of book tours and on the media circuit peddling multiple chapters of lies and hypotheticals that cast this team in a nefarious light.
On social media, it’s common to read all kinds of ridiculous hot takes and rumors about the Warriors and the responses from fan bases from around the league hoping and wishing that they were true.
We’re one week away from training camp and a month away from the opening tip. So why not shoot down more fake news and fan narratives surrounding the Warriors before we head into battle?
Get the strap!
Narrative: The Warriors recruited Kevin Durant only in response to the 2016 Finals collapse
Reality: As much as the thoughts of Draymond Green sitting in the parking lot of Oracle with tears steaming down his face begging Kevin Durant to come to Oakland or Green, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Igoudala, the coaches and front office pleading with the most prolific all around scorer in the game to join them make for great drama, it’s not true.
Obviously, the narrative is plausible, especially since they were fresh off of squandering a 3-1 series lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers. But here’s the thing: whispers of Durant to the Warriors were rumbling nearly a year before the infamous Finals.
Klay Thompson’s father and Lakers commentator Mychael Thompson mentioned it in 2015.
“I also heard it on good authority from a team that plays in the Bay Area that they are going hard after Kevin Durant in 2016,” Thompson revealed to ESPN L.A. at the time.
In a feature from the Athletic, Tim Kawakami confirmed that the Warriors were pursuing Durant before Game 7.
“This was just weeks after the Warriors had suffered a gut wrenching Game 7 loss to the Cavaliers, ruining their record-setting 73-victory regular season,” he wrote. “But management had been planning for this pitch to Durant for years, making sure Curry was onboard for it and manipulating their payroll to fit Durant’s salary.”
Also, Durant had the opportunity to play with Curry, Iguodala and Green on Team USA, so he was familiar with the core.
If the Warriors had won the title, would Durant be a Warrior? Judging from what we know now from the meeting in the Hamptons, the decision could have gone either way.
Narrative: Draymond Green is a dirty player
Reality: Given Green’s propensity for technicals and some controversial moments in the playoffs two years ago, it is easy to assume that he is dirty. Another part of this is the fact that basketball isn’t as physical as it was in the 1980’s, 90’s and even parts of the 00’s, and seeing a rugged and physical player such as Green in today’s game heightens the perception. Green is physical and he hustles. Compare Green’s play to this...
If Green did 1/1000th of what Laimbeer did when he played, Green and other players like him would be banished from the league. On the other hand, if Green played in that era where a player could get away with hand checking and other prohibited actions, he would be just another player that’s consistent with the era.
Narrative: Klay Thompson is unappreciated
Reality: The notion that Thompson is under appreciated by Warriors fans is not a new one, and it’s used in hopes of sowing seeds of doubt and discord for Thompson and his camp. They tried to do it when Durant signed. Remember “there’s only one ball?” The marksman vehemently denied that his game would change.
Ultimately, Thompson didn’t have to sacrifice anything. He still got his shots, and he made the most of the shots he received. His game didn’t change at all to accommodate Durant. The media and fans couldn’t get Thompson to think about how his game would “suffer,” so they went with “Thompson carrying the team when needed only to not get the props he deserves” because of the team being so stacked.
Everyone knows that Thompson is a free agent after this season, and there is an unabashed hope that Thompson might leave. But what they don’t realize is that the things most stars are concerned with, Thompson is not. There are no rumbles about money. He doesn’t go out of his way to court the spotlight because his personality draws the spotlight to him.
The Warriors’ front office, the players and the fans know what kind of value that Klay Thompson brings to the team. They know he's more than just threes. Thompson himself is comfortable in his role and has no urge to be more than what he is. Nice try, but this is one narrative that isn’t ‘it’.
Narrative: The San Antonio Spurs could’ve won the 2017 Western Conference Finals.
Reality: In the first half of Game 1 of the 2017 conference finals, San Antonio, lead by Kawhi Leonard, were dominating the Warriors. That 25 point lead into the second quarter was enough evidence critics and opposing fan bases needed to proclaim that the Spurs could win the series.
But what they failed to realize is that there is always another half to play and the Warriors’ money quarter is the third.
In the 2017-18 regular season, the Warriors won 15 games when they trailed by 10 points or more.
A comeback would probably have happened whether Leonard was on the the floor with the Spurs or not. Unfortunately, Leonard tripped over David Lee’s foot and was unable to return. Contrary to popular the narrative, Zaza Pachulia didn’t intentionally injure Leonard; he was just extremely clumsy to the point where even teammates were not immune to it.
Is there any more narratives I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments and on twitter.