More than anything, KD’s decision bums me out.
I love basketball. And while I have plenty of problems with the college game, I love watching the NBA. You’re watching the absolute best in the world put on a freak show for a couple hours. It’s skill and athleticism mixed to the max.
But next year, it’ll be harder than ever to sit down on a random Thursday night and watch. If we’re being completely honest, you could possibly talk yourself into four teams having a shot at the title next season. Those four would be the Warriors, Cavs, Spurs and Clippers.
If you want to get a little more realistic, you could probably bump the Clippers from that list. And the Spurs, for as good as they’ll be, will have a pretty big hill to climb to even reach the Finals.
With the NBA being so predictable, it’s not that far-fetched to go ahead and pencil in a Warriors-Cavs rematch (for the third straight year) in the Finals. Is that a good thing? It’ll make a vast majority of the regular season games, and even postseason games, irrelevant. The East was a snoozefest last year all the way through and I don’t see how that changes unless the Knicks develop for first ever time machine or Paul George raises his game yet another level while the rest of his roster stays completely healthy and plays to their max potential.
The West will probably come down to the Conference Finals again, where the Spurs will eventually run out of horses to slow down the Dubs. Last year, the third and fourth best odds belonged to the Thunder and Spurs, which is exactly how it played out.
From there, the Warriors had the second best odds and the Cavs were the favorites. And wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly how it went down. I’m extra bummed because I was really excited to watch
this that Thunder team next year. Westbrook and Durant, adding Oladipo, another year of development for Adams and whatever they did with the Waiters/Kanter funds would’ve been a really good team.
As for the decision itself, I’m not a fan. Yes, I defended LeBron leaving Cleveland. This situation is entirely different. LeBron gave the Cavs a decade to put some decent talent around him. Michael never left, he had a Hall Of Famer join him after a few years. Magic never left, he was flanked with Hall Of Famers all the time, the same as Larry Bird. Isaiah was given a loaded team and so on.
LeBron was given…a washed up Antwan Jamison? A really washed up Shaq? Eric Snow? You can only give a franchise so long.
That wasn’t the case with KD. He had Westbrook. The front office was still making moves and quite frankly, they would’ve been in the Finals this year and defeated the Warriors if he himself hadn’t played so bad after the Thunder took a 3-1 series lead.
He also left for a 73-win team, while LeBron (also gaining Chris Bosh) left for an above-average Miami team. It’s different. While KD probably deserves most of the heat he’s getting, it’ll all even out. If they do anything other than win 65 or so games and a title, he’ll be crushed. I mean, crushed. He’s gone all in and that does excite that sports fan in me.
But now, we’ll sit and wait. We’ll wait for June to watch Kevin Durant and the Warriors battle LeBron James and the Cavs. At least we’ll have two good weeks of basketball then, right?