The Golden State Warriors made headlines during the off-season after successfully luring Kevin Durant away from the Oklahoma City Thunder. 32 games into the regular season, did signing Durant help the Warriors? From a standings perspective, the Western Conference leading Warriors are 28-5, but if we look back at the 2015-16 season, the Warriors absorbed their 5th defeat on February 19, 2016 in a 32-point loss at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers. Whats going wrong for the Warriors? As they have already absorbed 5 defeats before the end of December.
The answer is simple: Kevin Durant. He became the focal point of the Warriors’ offense. How is that? Well, Stephen Curry was averaging 30 points per game during their 73-9 record-breaking season, and now he’s only tallying roughly 24 points per game. In addition to this, his shooting percentage behind the three-point line has significantly dropped from 42 percent from last season to 39 percent so far this season. There’s another significant reason why the Warriors didn’t benefit from signing Kevin Durant. They’ve lost tons of role players off the bench who contributed to their title-winning season two years ago. They’ve lost players like Leandro Barbosa, Harrison Barnes, Marrese Speights and Festus Ezeli. And don’t forget, Andrew Bogut is no longer around.
While Kevin Durant is a very much welcome addition to a team which blew a 3-1 series lead during the Finals, he, despite his talent, has been considered as the jinx to the team. Yes, he led the way for GSW against the Toronto Raptors with 22 points, 17 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 blocks. That, by the way, is an awesome stat-line for someone of his caliber. And for the record, their win against the Raptors marked the 11th time this season that Curry, Durant and Klay Thompson scored 20 points or more in a game. Now here’s what went wrong for the Warriors against the Raptors, As a team, the Warriors’ committed 20 turnovers with Durant contributing six of those costly turnovers. Fortunately for Steve Kerr, the Raptors failed miserably to capitalize off those mistakes by the Warriors. If the Warriors continue playing like this, even if they got the W, I don’t think they are assured of a third consecutive trip to the NBA Finals. Another fact is they haven’t won a game against the Cavaliers since the 2016 Finals.
For the record, folks, there’s no question that Kevin Durant has a major impact and is one of the few reasons why the Warriors at the top of the standings, at least in the West. However, his arrival in Oakland has made the Warriors more predictable and “beatable”. Let me put it this way. Stephen Curry is no longer shooting and making tons of threes like he used to do in the past two seasons. The Warriors as a team, are shooting 37 percent from the three-point line this season, good for 6th in the league so far. Whether GSW fans admit it or not, this season’s Warriors are softer than the rosters from the past two seasons. Yes, they have a Kevin Durant but look how the team is performing with him on board right now. They’re playing with a readable offense. With all due respect to Durant and his fans out there, he’s also one of the many reasons why the Warriors are struggling even if they are winning.