When Kevin Durant signed with the Warriors, the prevailing feeling around the league was (and remains), “Holy crap, the Warriors are terrifying now.” They now have the owners of the last three NBA MVP awards to go with one of the best defensive players in the league and one of the best shooters the league has ever seen (and that’s the non-MVP we’re talking about here). Unless and until injury hits, the pressing question of the 2016-17 NBA season is, “Can anyone challenge Golden State?”
That’s a pretty simple narrative, but it’s also not one that leaves a lot of hope for the fanbases of most NBA franchises. Of course, anything can happen — after all, the Warriors just won 73 games without Durant and still didn’t win the title — but ultimate success in the league next season just doesn’t feel as tangible as in years past. To Commissioner Adam Silver, that’s a problem.
I think it is critically important that fans in every market have that belief that if their team is well-managed that they can compete.
We’ll see what happens in Golden State. You had a great, great chemistry among a group of players and you’re adding another superstar to the mix, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens. But just to be absolutely clear, I do not think that’s ideal from a league standpoint.
It’s kind of surprising to see Silver take such a distinct position that Durant joining the Warriors is bad for the league (“not ideal” is about as negative as he’s allowed to get), but he’s also not wrong. For years, we talked about how loaded the Western Conference was, with the Thunder, Warriors, Spurs and occasionally other teams all serious contenders.
The Thunder have now dropped back, the Spurs will be without their epicenter in Tim Duncan, and the league looks like the Warriors’ to lose. Having a prohibitive favorite renders all other teams slightly less compelling from an outsider’s perspective, and Silver is correct that a more even distribution of talent would produce a better entertainment product. There’s just not much he, or anyone, can do about it.
(Via ASAP Sports)