It’s a Warrior world and we’re all just living in it. Though the Cavs delayed the inevitable in Game 4 of the NBA finals, and prevented the Warriors from strolling to a historic 16-0 postseason record, Golden State’s grasp around the throat of the NBA is tightening. The writhing body of the league is gasping for parity, but Kevin Durant and Steph Curry are merciless foes, squeezing ever harder as they watch the league’s eyes roll back into its head.
Wow, that got morbid. Sorry.
Here’s my point: the Warriors are insanely good, and all signs point to them being insanely good for the foreseeable future. This is probably the best NBA team ever assembled. They cruised to 67 wins in the regular season and are almost as good defensively as they are at raining threes. (They were second only to San Antonio in defensive efficiency in the regular season.) There are some questions heading into the offseason: Curry and Durant could both depart in free agency.
But they won’t.
The Warriors’ big-four (Curry, Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green) are going to reunite in 2017-18 and that’s going to make Golden State nearly unstoppable, barring injuries.
What does “nearly unstoppable” amount to, odds-wise? Let’s take a look at the earliest of early 2018 NBA Finals odds and some intriguing props to keep you interested in what will be an otherwise predictable movie.
The Warriors were shorter than even money at the start of last season, and that was before we knew how well Durant, Curry, Thompson, and Green could function together. The best hope for the rest of the league is that KD succumbs to the criticism and leaves the Warriors for, like, Brooklyn in order to prove he can win a championship on his own. Either that, or the big-four crash into each other while riding tandem bikes across the Bay Bridge.
Considering how much fun Durant seems to be having with the Dubs, neither is likely.
We might have to look out East for intrigue next season. It’s been a foregone conclusion that the Cavs would come out of the East the last three years, but with the Celtics potentially building a super-team of their own (by going after the likes of Gordon Hayward and Paul George), and likely adding Markelle Fultz in the draft, LeBron’s run of seven straight finals appearances will be tested.
I’m not totally sure Durant will be with the Warriors long-term. I am sure Curry will be wearing the blue-and-gold until his elbow gives out after making his 4,000th triple. If he and Durant form the nucleus for the foreseeable future, the Warriors could easily win three or four straight. That said, other teams are going to load up in an effort to compete. The Spurs are going after Chris Paul, reportedly. He and Kawhi Leonard — two supreme perimeter defenders — are a great start if you’re building a team to take down the champs.
Here’s the thing, when you’ve got this many great players, no single guy has a legitimate claim to being the most valuable in the league as a whole. What did the Warriors do when Durant was out with a knee injury? Lost four of six, and then rattled off 14 straight wins. Take away any single player and this is still probably the best team in the NBA.
Of course, if Durant plays an entire season the way he’s played in the 2017 finals, that’s not going to matter. No amount of “but look at his supporting cast” will keep the MVP award out of his freakishly big hands.
Photo credit: Keith Allison (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en]
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