SAN FRANCISCO — Last year, the Golden State Warriors had the best regular season record of all-time, the first unanimous MVP in league history and a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals with home-court advantage. Yet the Warriors had no answer for LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who made an unbelievable comeback to win the 2016 NBA Championship.
Just one win away from winning their second straight championship, Golden State’s collapse in the Finals has now morphed into constant jokes and memes poking fun at their failure. One Cavs fan even purchased a ‘3-1 Lead’ license plate to continuously troll Warriors fans on California’s scenic and congested highways. But while Golden State will likely keep hearing from its critics about its Finals collapse, the Warriors have plenty of reasons to be optimistic about their championship chances in 2017. Namely, because of Kevin Durant.
The addition of Durant gives the Warriors yet another offensive weapon to pair alongside All-Stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Durant is a superstar in his own right and the prospect of him launching from deep alongside the Splash Brothers makes the Warriors seem virtually unstoppable. There will be some adjustments and Golden State’s defense could go through some growing pains according to coach Steve Kerr, but the Warriors are quite confident. Especially Curry, who stuck to the same message he’s been preaching all summer, that Durant makes the Warriors better and it will all work out for the best.
“It’s going to work,” Curry said about the addition of Durant during a private fundraiser at TechCrunch Disrupt on Tuesday for the Africa-based malaria-prevention campaign Nothing but Nets he works with. “It’s going to be a huge transition. But I would say we had such a great dynamic with the ‘Strength in Numbers’ and the depth that we had on our team and obviously we had to give up a lot of that to get KD, so it will be a different way of going about our style.
“There are plenty of shots to go around,” Curry continued. “There are plenty of opportunities for everybody to shine. And obviously for us, we have healthy egos and that we all think, you know, we’re the best player, we’re confident when we go out there. But the only real objective is to win and if we don’t win, we know what that feeling’s like now and we don’t want that feeling.
“It will work. It will take some time to get in training camp to figure out.”
What, exactly, needs to be figured out in Golden State during training camp and throughout the season is still undetermined, but Curry believes the one thing that won’t be affected is the amount of shots he will take. This seems somewhat hard to believe as there is, after all, just one ball. Curry averaged 20.2 field goal attempts last season, while Thompson averaged 17.3 shots and Durant put up 19.2 shots with Thunder. Yet Curry is confident he will still be gunning away at his normal clip.
“No,” Curry said when asked if he will take less shots. “I did the math though. I did some advanced analytics. There are plenty of shots to go around. Obviously when KD came, some guys left so there are some shots [available]. Me and Klay average a certain amount. I know what KD averaged last year in Oklahoma City so it all fits into a full game’s worth of shots. We will figure it out.”
Curry’s confidence that Durant won’t cause a major shift in Golden State is also shared by Thompson and looking at the rest of the landscape in the league, it’s hard not to agree with them. Vegas is already on board with Golden State, heavily favoring the Warriors to win the 2017 championship. Winning a championship is the main reason Durant signed with the Warriors and for Curry, not winning this year is basically out of the question. Curry wasn’t predicting an 82-0 season but his confidence and his team’s confidence is at an all-time high now that Durant is on the roster.
“That’s the expectation.” Curry said when asked if the Warriors would win the championship next season during a Q&A at TechCrunch Disrupt. “We play for championships and that’s it. I thought last year and that whole journey, coming off a championship and the 73 wins was about as crazy as it could get, going into a Game 7 of the Finals, but this season I think we will eclipse that. Just the anticipation, the hype, I think our focus as a team, it’s going to be amazing.
“Just don’t panic if we lose a game, it’s gonna happen.”
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Steph Curry on confident Warriors: ‘We all think we’re the best player’