On this day three years ago, Kevin Durant joined the Golden State Warriors. This was after a heart breaking loss, where we saw the Warriors blow a 3-1 lead. They choked out the last four games of the series and this caused many analysts to think they were a one shot wonder. But, then the most amazing news happened. If you were a Warriors fan, or even a NBA fan, you know exactly where you were when he made this decision. I remember exactly where I was, laying down on my couch thinking of what to have for breakfast. Then, my phone gets a notification from “Bleacher Report”, my eyes grew wide open as I read the caption, Kevin freaking Durant was on his way to Golden State. The team that won 73 games, had an amazing post season, (ignoring the Finals) and had so much going for them with three all-stars.
Kevin Durant would of course become a champion. The Warriors coasted right through the regular season. They would end the season with an amazing 67 wins and only 15 losses. They were the most dominant offensive NBA teams as they scored 115.9 points per game, which led the NBA. This team also coasted through the playoffs as they went 16 and 1 on their way to their second championship of the Steve Kerr era and KD’s first ever. It was one of the most satisfying feelings to see KD hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy, along with the Finals MVP trophy as well. He would get a lot of hate still, even after dominating the regular and post season, he felt as if he should be considered the best player in the NBA after these performances. Rightfully so, he was the most dominant offensive player, and he had improved so much on defense. He was arguably the best player in the NBA at this point. But many didn’t believe so.
Then we move onto the 2017 NBA season. KD resigns on another one year deal with a player option. He also took a pay cut so they could sign even more talent. This team friendly deal was key because they were able to sign even more depth, and depth would turn out to be key at the end of the day. This was still an amazing season, but they did slightly digress as they won 58 games and they lost 24 games. They were not the first seed in the Western conference, but the Warriors were still heavy favorites throughout the post season. They went 16 and five for the entire post season. The Rockets gave the biggest trouble, as they took the Warriors to seven games but at the end, the Warriors would prevail. They would go onto sweep LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers. This was also the birth of the greatest brain fart in NBA history. The Henny god, J.R. Smith would forget the score, and ultimately give away the game to the Warriors in the first game of the series. After that heartbreaking loss, the Cav’s were unable to bounce back. KD won his second straight Finals MVP and the Warriors won their third of the era.
The 2018 season was a long one. Unfortunately, this was a turbulent season that ultimately broke the Warriors. This all started in Los Angeles. Draymond Green got the rebound on a key possession, and Kevin Durant was clapping for the ball, all the way up court. It was too late, Draymond was a bull in a china shop as he barreled his way through the Clippers defense and ultimately threw up a prayer of a layup and onto overtime they went. KD and Draymond got into a verbal altercation, with some harsh words being thrown and Draymond would go onto seal the fate of the Hampton’s Five by saying, “we won without you, we don’t need you!” to KD. This was one of the hardest games to watch and also this was when the rumors of KD to the Nets circulated and grew some steam. But the season went on, they would go on to win 57 games and lose 25 games. It was still a great season, and it would good enough for the first seed in the Western conference.
The Warriors had a troubled post season. Demarcus Cousins finally got into the post season, and he even played his first game as well. But he would end up hurting his quad in just the second game of the series against the Clippers. The Clippers were just bad news for the Warriors all season. They blew a 30 point lead that game at home. They would still take care of business and win the series eventually. Then the Warriors went to play against the Rockets. This would be a rematch of the amazing series last year. The Warriors would win this series with an amazing game six by winning the game without KD. KD would hurt his “calf” even though it looked like a clear achilles injury. When KD went down, my heart sank into my stomach. There were so many emotions going through my mind. Of course I was relieved that it was said to be a calf injury, but I was always skeptical because that injury really looked like an achilles injury.
The Portland Trailblazer series was a clean sweep and it was no problem for the Warriors. KD wouldn’t play in this series because they revealed the injury seemed to be more serious than they originally thought. This was what proved to me that this was not a simple calf injury, something or someone was lying. As the Finals got started, the Warriors were without KD and they were locked in an intense battle with the Raptors. They would eventually go down three to one, and KD would return for game five to help his team try and come back. KD was on fire from the start. He made every three pointer that he attempted and he was able to score 11 points in just 12 minutes of playing time. Then KD tried to put the moves on Serge Ibaka and then it happened. It was almost as if someone kicked the back of his right foot. He had ruptured his achilles. His night was over. The Warriors would go onto win this game, all for KD. He showed tremendous heart for coming back from his injury. He wanted to help his brothers win this game and potentially try to three-peat. I thought it was still possible for the Warriors to win the series. They had the motivation and they had the momentum.
The next game comes, and the Warriors and the Raptors were locked in a heated battle as both teams just couldn’t separate from one another. Then Klay Thompson gets clipped on a fast break dunk. A freak accident that tore Klay’s ACL. In no way was there any sort of malicious intent, just a freak accident. Klay wobbled his way to the tunnel, and this was when one of the most amazing moments in Oracle history was born. Klay was told he wouldn’t be eligible to return if he left without taking his free throws, but before anyone could tell him not to come back in, he gets back onto the court to take take the shots. After he nets both, he jogs back to play defense. It is obvious he is very hurt but he just wanted to win so badly. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the Warriors destiny as they lost the game, and the series.
Now we move onto the offseason, as the dust settles from a rapid start to the free agency frenzy, KD has left the Warriors to team up with Kyrie Irving and Deandre Jordan in Brooklyn. As shocked as I was, I was just thankful for everything KD had done for the Warriors organization. He was the main reason we actually won the past two championships. He provided Warrior fans with some of the best memories in Oracle history. He was an amazing player to see, and he became a Bay Area legend in just three short seasons. We saw the Warriors become a dynasty with Steph and KD at the helm. They built something so special together, it is a shame that we didn’t get more time with them together. I wish nothing but the best for KD on his journey in Brooklyn, he will always be one of my favorite Warrior players of all time. He changed the franchise for the better.
If I could share one thing to every NBA fan out there, don’t take these players/teams for granted. Before you know it, they will be gone. Appreciate the greatness instead of picking it apart. Thank you KD, for everything you did. For the Bay, for the Warriors, and the NBA. Get better, I wish you a speedy recovery. Can’t wait to see you beat this injury, just to come back even stronger.
Categories: NBA News Blog