July 9, 2016, 5:28 pm
One Big Thing: Will anyone beat the Warriors?
So that’s pretty big.
Kevin Durant to the Warriors is unreal. I was speaking to some people who tried to compare this to LeBron James joining the Heat back in 2010, but I think this could be much, much bigger.
LeBron joined a good Heat squad but was the accelerant that pushed them to the top. Golden State is basically already there. Even though they came up one game short of the ultimate goal, the Warriors are either at the top of the heap or just a hair below it. The 73 win regular season loses some of its luster without the title, but make no mistake: this team was built to win multiple championships without Kevin Durant.
This is like adding Superman to The Avengers. It’s almost overkill.
The Warriors have instantly become overwhelming favorites to win everything possible next season. It almost feels as though winning 73 or less will be a letdown considering the sheer star power they’ve managed to assemble.
In some ways it seems like this was meant to happen. By all accounts, Durant would’ve been turned off by the wrong vibes in any of his recruiting meetings. The Warriors were long viewed as the only serious challengers to Oklahoma City’s claim on the superstar; Durant was after championships and nobody else out there could offer a situation nearly as enticing.
Durant was supposed to team with Russell Westbrook and provide a Warriors foil. They were the team on the rise who came so very close to getting the job done. He was meant to stick with the only organization he’s ever known to try and climb the mountain.
The fact that Golden State could walk that tightrope and woo KD westward speaks volumes. They busted out their best speeches and their VR headset and got their guy. Durant wasn’t supposed to leave OKC, but if anyone could pull it off it just had to be these guys.
I referred to them as the Monstars because this seems too good to be true. The Monstars, if you remember, for all their supernatural and freakish abilities, lose at the end of Space Jam. It’s not going to be the stuff of our dreams right off the bat. It’ll take some time to get everything in place, but they’ll still win a bunch while they figure it out.
I’m not going to pick someone else to win the championship while Durant is in The City, but there’s a certain sense of impending disappointment. The theoretical fit here is tremendous and the skillsets of Durant and the rest of the Warriors mesh impeccably on paper, but the NBA season is filled with so much variance that it’s hard to bank on anything.
One thing I will bank on is the basketball world turning on Golden State.
There was something fun about The Splash Brothers knowing the ultimate cheat code and unleashing a three point barrage that’s impossible to defend. It was fun watching Draymond Green go from unheralded big man to game-changing force. It was special to watch pesky Golden State work their way to the top; a refreshing change from the usual faces that this generation of NBA fans had seen.
For the majority of the past few seasons, Steph Curry has awakened a sleeping part of the basketball consciousness that called for pure, unbridled joy. There’s something that’s deeply entertaining about watching this sprightly kid who was counted out by so many experts show up and do things we’ve never seen before. The entire court is a viable pull up spot for him, and his good shots are tries that get other people yanked off the court by the ear. Point being, you know how good Steph is. How much fun he is.
The media was searching for someone to oppose LeBron James, at that time the game’s preeminent villain, and Curry was the chosen one.
Steph was the everyman; the one who normal kids should look up to. After all, you might grow up to be 6’3” and 190 pounds- just work on your dribbling and shooting and who knows. 6’8” and 250 calls for the genetic jackpot. You will not grow into LeBron’s frame. Plus, Curry carried himself well; he has a postcard quality family and has stayed out of trouble. LeBron was an active participant in that Decision fiasco and was the guy who spurned his own hometown for a shot at glory; he left home because he couldn’t get it done without help. Those arguments were obviously deeply flawed but for a decent stretch of time, LeBron James was deeply unlikable to the bulk of the basketball populous.
With success comes haters, but Golden State has been telegraphing the heel turn for quite some time.
They began without a ‘true superstar’ but have waltzed their way into having four. Their presence became pervasive and there’s no surer way to make people hate you than by simply being on TV, the radio, Twitter and anywhere else you can think of for every waking second.
The ‘light years ahead’ comments from owner Joe Lacob didn’t do the team any favors. It’s fitting that a sneakily arrogant team on the court is funded by a man willing to talk down the rest of the league. Draymond Green’s limbs became groin-seeking missiles and his trash talk began to rub people the wrong way.
Once Steph’s ridiculous threes became commonplace people started to notice the shimmying and shaking that goes down before the ball goes in. They’re slowly realizing that he’s far from the normal kid who grew into something special. He’s the son of an NBA player who grew up privileged with his own set of unattainable talents. He’s not the underdog that we wanted, though his size deceived us for a while. LeBron was the one who overcame odds as a kid. He’s the one who returned home and delivered on his promise, bringing glory to his long-suffering state. Public perception is swinging away from Curry and back to the King.
The Warriors are still tons of fun to watch. There’s just a lot of people out there who want to see them lose. A lot of it is driven by jealousy, but it’s hard to fault people who want to be rid of these Warriors. Sick of Curry, sick of Oracle, ready for some fresh faces among the league’s elite.
The most intriguing part of the equation is, of course, Kevin Durant.
July 20, 2019, 6:42 pmKenny WootenPF, New York Knicks
The Knicks have signed Kenny Wooten to an Exhibit 10 contract.
Wooten posted 10 blocks in only 52 minutes during Summer League and possesses some serious leaping ability. He will spend most of his time in the G-League and should not be on the radar in drafts.
Source: Marc Berman of The New York Post
July 20, 2019, 3:09 pmOshae BrissettSG-SF, Toronto Raptors
The Raptors have signed Oshae Brissett to an Exhibit 10 contract.
Brissett, a Toronto native, went undrafted after two seasons at Syracuse and played with the Clippers at Summer League, where he averaged 6.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 0.8 steals in 17.6 minutes a night across five games. This puts Toronto's roster at 20 for the time being, so barring any further transactions the Raptors have their camp group set.
Source: Blake Murphy on Twitter
July 20, 2019, 2:32 pmJordan McLaughlinG, Minnesota Timberwolves
The Wolves have inked point guard Jordan McLaughlin to a two-way contract.
McLaughlin went undrafted in 2018 after a four-year USC career where he averaged 12.8 points, 7.8 assists and 2.0 steals in his senior season. After his strong play for the G-League's Long Island Nets last season, he earned a spot on this years Wolves summer league roster where he continued to impress, leading his team to a 6-1 record. He is unlikely to get many NBA minutes this season with Jeff Teague, Shabazz Napier and Tyrone Wallace on the roster.
Source: Jon Krawczynski on Twitter
July 20, 2019, 1:26 pmEmmanuel MudiayPG, Utah Jazz
The Jazz have officially announced the signing of Emmanuel Mudiay, Jeff Green and Ed Davis.
All three project to come off the bench this season with Green and Davis part of the frontcourt second string while it is unclear if Mudiay or Dante Exum will assume the backup point guard duties. Davis is coming off a career-high 8.6 rebounds per game in only 17.9 minutes last season while Mudiay enjoyed his best year as a pro with the Knicks but all three players can be left undrafted in standard leagues for the time being.
July 20, 2019, 12:59 pmCJ McCollumSG, Trail Blazers
C.J. McCollum has withdrawn his name from the Team USA training camp and 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Following the trend, McCollumn is the fourth player to withdraw his name this week in order to focus on the upcoming season. The original 20 invites are now down to 16 with the final 12-man roster expected to be announced on August 17.
Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter
July 20, 2019, 12:51 pmFrank MasonPG, Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks have agreed on a two-way contract with Frank Mason III.
Mason did not get much opportunity with the Kings last year and sat out all of Summer League with a sore hip. He projects to spend most of his time in the G-League and called up only if Eric Bledsoe or George Hill need to miss time. The Bucks recently signed Cameron Reynolds to a two-way deal and still have Bonzie Colson on one from last season so they are one over the limit. They still have an empty roster spot even after signing Kyle Korver so maybe one of their two-ways gets a standard deal instead. Otherwise, one of them will need to be waived.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
July 20, 2019, 12:25 pmKyle KorverSF, Milwaukee Bucks
Kyle Korver has agreed to a one-year deal with the Bucks per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
This is not the worst landing spot for Korver but he will strictly be a backup and entering his 17th season, he should not be relevant in standard leagues. He was able to knock down 2.1 triples per game in only 20.1 minutes last season so he may have value as a specialist in super-deep leagues however.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
July 20, 2019, 11:49 amChris PaulPG, Oklahoma City Thunder
Chris Paul has reportedly settled on the idea of starting the season for the Thunder.
Although Oklahoma City and Miami did not have formal discussions regarding a Chris Paul trade according to Brian Windhorst, the Thunder were willing to discuss giving back the Heat some picks but the Heat would have also wanted Paul to decline his $44 million player option in 2021-2022, which is not going to happen. The Heat want to remain flexible in the next big free agent class of 2021 and adding Paul on his current deal would take that away. Paul's usage rate will likely increase on the Thunder but keep in mind that he has missed at least 21 games in each of the three seasons before drafting him as the 9-time All-Star enters his 15th season in the league.
July 20, 2019, 11:20 amEric GordonSG, Houston Rockets
Eric Gordon withdraws from Team USA training camp for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Gordon is the third player to withdraw this week after James Harden and Anthony Davis. The original training camp list of 20 is now down to 17 and the official 12-team roster will be announced on August 17.
Source: Shams Charanis on Twitter
July 19, 2019, 9:59 pmLuke KornetPF-C, Chicago Bulls
The Bulls have officially announced the signings of Luke Kornet and Shaquille Harrison.
Kornet can provide threes and blocks as a backup big for the Bulls. He is currently behind Lauri Markkanen, Thaddeus Young and Wendell Carter Jr. but may be able to carve out some minutes for deep-league owners. Harrison will be fighting for minutes with the Bulls' plethora of point guards at the moment. If he can find some minutes during the season, he can be a source of steals as a player to stream or for deep leagues.