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Should Kevin Durant Go To Golden State?

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Should Kevin Durant go to the Golden State Warriors if he gets the opportunity?

Oklahoma City Thunder fans have a legitimate reason to worry that Kevin Durant may leave during the offseason. Following the all-star break, the Thunder have lost six of their last eight games. Before the break, the team was considered a contender out of the West. However, during their recent struggles, people have come to question the team’s mentality when it comes to contending against elite teams and their desire for an NBA championship. 

Durant will have plenty of options that he will consider in the offseason, but the Golden State Warriors are undoubtedly the most appealing team for the eight-time pro. The Warriors are clearly the best team in the NBA, with a record of 55-5.

Adding Durant would make the Warriors look unstoppable on paper. He wants to win a championship, and Golden State seems to be the best destination for him to do so. However, he’s going to have to take a number of things into consideration if he’s given the option to team up with the Warriors.

Touches and Half-Court Offense

With scorers Klay Thompson and Steph Curry on the team, Durant may not get all the touches that he wants. Thompson is averaging 17.0 field goal attempts, while Curry averages 20.1. Durant himself is taking 19.1 shots, a number which will definitely go down if he were to go to the Warriors. Curry and Thompson deferring shot attempts to Durant is a real scenario, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Both Curry and Durant excel at having the ball in their hands to create offense, so there could be possible turmoil as to who runs the offense in a half-court set. 

The teams run their respective offenses quite similarly, but they’re not the same. The Warriors like to start Steph Curry up top with preferably Draymond Green at the setting the screen. Curry will usually go ahead and take the pick, and if two players pick him up, he throws the ball out to Green. If not, Curry has the ability to either get by the defender or shoot the three. 

The reason this works is because Green is a capable shooter and an extremely gifted playmaker at his position. Green will either drive to the basket and score for himself or set up other players when the defense chooses to collapse on him. Much of Golden State’s success on offense is thanks to their player movement off the ball and the different outside threats that they have.

The Thunder runs the pick and roll differently. Much of the time, the pick is set to create a mismatch or allow space for Durant/Westbrook to attack the paint or take the jumpshot. Much like the Warriors, if the opponent chooses to collapse on the ball-handler, the pass will be made out to the person who set the pick, and he’ll have the option to attack or set up another player. 

Sounds similar, right? Again, the difference is that the Warriors have much better player movement compared to the Thunder, and they have more offensive threats. Since their offenses are so similar, there is an assumption that Durant would smoothly transition to playing with the Warriors. That would be incorrect.

What happens if you choose to have Durant in the pick and roll with Curry? Does Green stay in the paint where he’s undersized or spot up for the jumper and leave the paint, giving up second chance opportunities? Green has the ability to shoot the three, but not at the efficiency of a Harrison Barnes or a Klay Thompson. If Green is involved in the pick and roll, where does Durant go? Where does Curry find himself if Durant and Green start the offense? There will be a lot of unanswered questions revolving around the team’s offensive sets if Durant chooses to go to the Warriors.

Supporting Cast

Durant needs to consider the talent that he’ll be working with after this season. The Warriors would obviously need to offer Durant and Curry max contracts on top of the money that they’re already giving Green and Thompson.

Per the San Francisco Examiner:

The pro-Durant fraternity states the obvious: With the league’s TV-bolstered salary cap increasing to at least $90 million this summer and $110-million-plus the following summer, the Warriors could pull this off on the spreadsheet. Thompson ($70 million) and Green ($82.5 million) are locked into deals that already look obsolete, meaning Curry and Durant could be paid super-max contracts.

With all that money being spent, can the Warriors build a solid supporting cast that could compliment this big four? Every player on this current Warriors team has been essential to their historical success. The potential signing of Durant will surely force some of these players away. 

Harrison Barnes has been an integral piece for the Warriors, but being a restricted free agent this year, he may leave. Barnes is a quality starter and can look to earn a solid contract in the offseason. An average starter in the NBA makes around $15-20 million per season. As to whether the Warriors would able to offer that to him if Durant signs is unlikely. 

The Warriors may also look to build a younger roster with five players over 30 years old. The game has clearly evolved into a run-and-gun style, and having aging players would not fit the tempo of the team. Although the Warriors have been dominant with their current roster, it wouldn’t be a surprise if pieces like Leandro Barbosa and Andrew Bogut aren’t on the roster next season. 


Maybe more than anything else, Durant will take a long look as to what kind of legacy he will leave at the end of his career. There’s no question that going to Golden State will give him that chance to win a championship immediately, much like LeBron James did when he went to Miami. However, the difference is that Golden State is already the best team in the NBA, whereas the Heat at the time were nothing short of a first-round exit team.

Durant can finally earn the title of being a winner but can also be known as the player who took the easy way out. Plenty of superstars have joined forces to turn middle-of-the-pack teams into serious contenders, but rarely do we see a superstar join a team that is overwhelmingly the best team in the NBA. Championships do not always improve a player’s legacy. Basketball fans praise legends such as Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Dirk Nowitzki because they struggled, figured out how to win, and brought their respective franchises championships. 

Struggling is part of winning in the NBA. If Durant goes to the Warriors, he is essentially “cheating” the process to win in the eyes of the casual fan. If he goes to a team that isn’t expected to win, such as the Los Angeles Lakers or the Washington Wizards, he’ll be looked at as a player who is contributing his services to earn a championship. However, if he stays in OKC, fans will view him as a player who wants to win a championship for a city that has embraced him as their icon.

Edited by Jazmyn Brown, Jaidyn Hart.

What was the Oklahoma City Thunder's record in Durant's MVP season?
Created 3/5/16
  1. 59-23
  2. 55-27
  3. 61-21
  4. 60-22

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