Ever since signing superstar free agent forward and now Finals Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant, making an addition to a roster whose core group won an NBA record 73 wins the previous season, the Golden State Warriors have been the betting favorite to win the 2017 NBA title since the start of the season. Predictably experiencing their own ups and downs throughout the season, the team’s biggest test came when a brief injury sidelined Durant, which sparked questions of the Warrior’s potency. Presently that doubt now seems like a half-baked concept being drowned out with champagne, coupled with the glare of a trophy in Durant’s grasps that acknowledges his team couldn’t have done this without him.
Not to be completely dismissed are the questions of whether a team like the Warriors in full command of the league is a selling point or a black eye.
To somewhat quell these thoughts is to accept the reality of there being an odd conceptual blend between the game of basketball and the business of the NBA in our minds, which we expect to be all-inclusive. Durant’s move to the Warriors for a while catered to the entertainment value of the league, but once the winning became a foregone conclusion, the interest in the game of basketball began to feel compromised, which began the ongoing tug of war in the minds of fans.
Standing opposite the Warriors in this year’s physical tug of war in the NBA Finals were the Cleveland Cavaliers who were looked upon as the only team that could challenge the 2017 NBA champs this season. Lead by forward LeBron James, making his eighth Finals appearance, looking to add another accolade to one of the most accomplished resume’s in NBA history, the Cavaliers’ supporting cast simply fell short
The counter narrative for Cleveland was that of the mad scientist of the “super team” formula having his creation come back to haunt him. While averaging a triple double for the series, James and all-star point guard Kyrie Irving looked anything, but fearful. However as a team, the Cavaliers were basically a two-man show, with the headlining acts having their own momentary, but significant lapses.
“He paved the way” Durant told Bleacher Report, speaking of James. While forming star-studded teams has been going on before James could even pronounce legacy, never has it been done where the unofficial best player in the world, in the prime of their career made the decision to take their talents elsewhere.
With Durant’s talents presiding in Oakland, California for the 2016-2017 NBA season, the Warriors were a sight to behold. Aside from numbers like the 67 win season to give them the most wins in a three-year span in history and the second best winning percentage all time, the highlight of this team was there display of sound fundamental training and unselfishness.
Two time MVP Wardell Curry II, while one of the greatest shooters in league history was a willing passer all season. Star shooting guard Klay Thompson, almost equally prolific from the three-point line was a terror on the defensive end for opponents. Six foot seven all-star power forward Draymond Green would go from the team’s leader in rebounds one game, the leading assist man the next, then the team’s leader in double-doubles for the rest of the month.
While the term most valuable can be ambiguous and misleading, the sight of it is more defined as it was in these 2017 NBA Finals. Durant’s maturation not just as a scorer was on full display as he shown his complete arsenal on the biggest stage there is. While it’s likely he appreciated the journey just as much as this commercialized defining moment, he at least has the silence of a large number of critics, while the rest are overwhelmed by shouts of joy and adoration.
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