Though Kevin Durant played a pivotal role in helping the Golden State Warriors win two championships, he was never a necessity.
Coming off an insanely disappointing ending to the 2015-16 NBA season, the Golden State Warriors struck gold by signing Kevin Durant. The Warriors pulled off the greatest free agency signing in league history, adding a former MVP in the middle of his prime to a team that was already title favorites.
With Durant, the Dubs witnessed much success. In their first season together, the unit went 16-1 through the playoffs as they captured the 2017 NBA championship. Next year, they faced a bit more adversity but finished the postseason strong with a sweep in the NBA Finals to bring home back-to-back titles.
An injury to KD ruined any chance of a three-peat. However, we did watch as a hobbled Warriors team took down the Houston Rockets and then swept the Portland Trail Blazers without Durant. Even when facing a gigantic challenge in the NBA Finals, the Dubs fell just one shot short of pushing the series to seven games.
This begs the question that people have been asking since day one, did the Warriors need Durant? If you ask KD himself, he says yes. In recent interview, KD told the Wall Street Journal that Steve Kerr‘s motion offense will only take a team so far and that it was his ability to score in isolation that propelled the Dubs to the top.
Durant does have a point. For example, it was KD who drilled the dagger shot in both of their NBA Finals victories. Of course, the series was lopsided to begin with, but Durant still stepped up in the rare moments that the game was on the line.
As for the rest of their playoff series together, it can be argued that KD’s isolation scoring did carry the Dubs through the postseason. But, would the Warriors have been doomed to fail without Durant? I don’t think so.
This team was already established before KD joined. The Dubs have more than enough talent to compete without Durant and they proved it last season when he went down with his Achilles injury.
Durant was incredible and there is no doubt he helped the team enormously. However, he was never needed. The Warriors may not have won without him, but they still had a fighting chance against anyone.