Just in case you live under a rock, after 10 years of trying Kevin Durant is now an NBA Finals MVP and an NBA champion.
His path towards vindicating his apparently ‘weak’ decision was not easy, but with a championship on the line, Durant did what we all knew he was capable of doing: he dominated the game’s biggest stage, carrying the Warriors to a fifth NBA title.
Durant’s Finals performances will live long in the memory for those who witnessed it.
He averaged 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists in the series. His five straight 30-point games came against LeBron James. His game-clinching three-pointer on the road in Game 3 came after he’d stolen the ball, and his closeout performance in Game 5 – totaling 39 points and 7 rebounds – was just the icing on the cake.
Durant shot well above 50-40-90 for the series – 55.6% field goal, 47.4% 3-point and 92.7% free throw, turning the Finals into his own personal canvas. He then proceeded to paint the perfect picture, one that saw the Warriors redeemed, his own critics silenced and the entire NBA panic-stricken.
The reason: this Warriors team is unlike anything we have ever seen before.
In my 16 years of watching the NBA, from the grainy VHS recordings, to the Windows Media Video downloads, to League Pass, the Dubs represent a true enigma in NBA-terms. They’re a combination of unnatural talent, commitment and unrelenting firepower.
They are a product of the new era, built on good fortune and an expanding league revenue – a true landmark in the sports world.
In the last three seasons they’ve been to three straight NBA Finals. They’ve also set the record for the most wins ever in the regular season, gone 16-1 in the postseason and broken more records than practically any team before them.
And the scary thing is, they’re just getting started.
All four of the Warriors All-Star starters are relatively young, and capable of competing at the highest level for at least half a decade more. And with Klay Thompson under contract for two more years, Draymond Green locked into three and Durant reportedly willing to take less money this summer, they’d be able to retain their two-time MVP Stephen Curry – the man who quite literally put the Warriors back on the map.
One other factor surrounding these incredible players is their own individual improvement, which we have seen consistently year-upon-year. And because, let’s be honest here, nobody noticed Thompson silently becoming one of the league’s elite defenders during the course of the past five games.
It is this willingness to sacrifice for each other, which has affected this team both on and off the court.
On the court, this mentality is obvious – the Warriors score over two-thirds of their points off assists, and Curry preaches what they teach. In Game 5 Curry not only finished with a game-high 10 assists, but he also led the game with five secondary assists and was involved in over half of Golden State’s baskets. Between his 10 field goals, 10 assists and 5 secondary assists, Curry was part of 25 of Golden State’s 46 field goals. It’s crazy to think, but there are no selfish players here – a team which has 4 Hall of Famers has no ball-hogs and no point-fiends.
It’s a system in which you either invest, or you go home.
It remains unclear as to who and what will challenge the Warriors newly established dynasty. But one thing is for sure, the superteam is well and truly here to stay. Welcome to the new era of the NBA.