This is a weird time to be a Warriors fan. Good weird, but weird nonetheless.
Since Kevin Durant went down with a calf injury about a week ago, it’s like someone flipped a switch on a time machine and all of a sudden it’s 2015 again. The illusion is strengthened by the presence of Andrew Bogut, who after apparently dropping off the face of the Earth is not just back on the team, but back in the starting lineup.
Before KD’s injury the Warriors had been winning but sometimes looking vulnerable, dropping two games to the Clippers and two more to the Rockets. What’s worse, throughout this season they had gone through troubling stretches of lassitude, and sometimes even (perish the thought) discord — very off-brand.
But ever since Durant left the floor in the 3rd quarter of a touch-and-go Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals, they have looked like the Dubs of old — playing with joy and pace, moving the ball, getting superb performances from role players, the Splash Brothers splashing. After polishing off the Rockets they steamrolled the Blazers in Game 1 and last night overcame a 15-point halftime deficit to take Game 2.
Which cannot help but lead the Nation to wonder, is it KD who’s been jamming up our flow? Could a transcendent scorer, by consensus one of the top 5 players in the NBA, somehow be a net negative to the team?
This is a tricky question, because even if it were so, it wouldn’t necessarily be KD’s fault; it could just be that knowing they have him to fall back on leads the Warriors into bad habits. And doubly tricky because everybody is hyper-aware that KD is a free agent at season’s end, and that anything that happens now has the potential to affect his decision-making later.
It has been my official position lately that I’m done talking about Durant free-agency until the season is over. Nobody knows his thought process on this, me least of all, and all the chatter about it is utterly pointless. Especially now, when the W’s are attempting to win a championship — which, again, is the entire point of what a sports team does. Next season is the distant future. Everybody shut up.
But recent developments add a whole new level of complexity to the situation, and trying to think through all the implications is headache-inducing. What must Durant be thinking, seeing the team not only win without him, but have more fun doing it? Do we actually want the W’s to hit a roadblock so that KD feels needed? Or if they continue to roll without him — which is not, of course, guaranteed — does that mean he should go? Or is that just crazy talk, because you know who he is — he’s Kevin Durant.
Well, these are all first-world problems. As of this writing the Warriors are just six wins away from a threepeat, and what would I have said if you told me that in 2010? There would have been cuss words involved. So relax (he said to himself) — enjoy the moment. Namaste, om, over and out.