In the past week, the Warriors have gotten blown out by the Oklahoma City Thunder with Kevin Durant, then turned around without him and pasted the Chicago Bulls and pulled off a dominating win against a playoff-ready New Orleans Pelicans team. Beyond the simple fact that the Warriors are a significantly better team with Durant, that is not up for debate, it’s the growing chorus of Warriors fans that are more interested and invested, at least in the regular season, to watch a game where Stephen Curry has free reign to do whatever he wants. From bombing shots from 30-feet in transition to having to dribble through three defenders before attempting a circus layup attempt, it’s the excitement and 2013-2016 MVP-style we’ve all grown accustomed to.
Again, repeatedly, I will have to restate this every single sentence so as to not sound like someone that doesn’t enjoy Kevin Durant on the Warriors. But the Warriors as presently constructed and since the beginning of this dynasty’s existence, are more fun to watch when Curry is the main driving force. It doesn’t mean that adding other pieces like Durant, or even having an egalitarian system like Steve Kerr is a bad thing. Excitement does not equal what is best for the team.
Kerr’s offense, the lack of pick-and-rolls, the Steph backscreens, and the overall lack of minutes for superstars, are meant for the long haul. The Cavs have built their system around LeBron’s overwhelming talent but when he sits, they are stunningly clueless. The Warriors aren’t great when Steph sits either but they do have a baseline to fall on, it’s not as if they’re not maximizing Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, and Draymond Green when the second quarter starts. All the backcuts and passing maximize the lesser talents on offense while keeping Steph fresh for the postseason.
As for Durant, his addition and integration as the 1A/1B usage player for the Warriors keeps them grounded. Gone are the runs from other teams that can sometimes close out the Warriors in the first half. KD can keep the team close with his isolation scoring so that the team can turn the switch on and murder teams in the 3rd quarter. It’s not his sole benefit to the team but it’s a necessary addition to keep this iteration healthy and consistent for not just a season, but the next decade. This isn’t about 73 wins, it’s about 7 titles.
There might be a bit of angst there between how we as fans root for the Warriors with and without Durant on the floor. Perhaps there’s even an insecurity there that can make someone like Durant care about these things, and judging by what he has gone through in the offseason, it could be a thing. But on the floor, none of it has mattered at all. The guy was the Finals MVP. Steph’s team needed Durant to get by the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were playing lights-out on offense but had absolutely no one, including LeBron James himself, that could even tough Durant in the halfcourt.
So if there’s some weird fan insecurity between other people saying how Warriors fans should feel words about rooting harder for Steph than KD or enjoying that Chicago Bulls 2nd quarter more than, say, just another win against the Denver Nuggets, screw alla that. Being a fan is about having fun. Stephen Curry dropping 30 in a quarter is fun. Kevin Durant torching LeBron James in Game 3 of the NBA Finals to bring back the trophy is fun. Everything is fun for the Golden State Warriors right now.