I think it is time to sell the Golden State Warriors. I love the team and the excitement that the Warriors have brought to the league this year. Yes, despite setting the league record for most wins in an NBA regular season, you can count me among the few who think the Warriors have run out of gas.
Steph Curry is an amazing player and there is no one in the league more fun to watch. Crowds collectively gasp when he has the ball – it’s been awhile since a player could do that. Much has been written about the accessibility of Curry as a superstar. He looks like the boy next door and is relatable to a wide range of NBA fans. Not all of us can dunk like LeBron, but we can all shoot 30-footers.
The 82-game regular season does no favors for the slight Curry and the playoff schedule is simply to taxing. The physical play this year in the playoffs has not helped the Warriors and Curry’s injuries have been difficult to overcome. He has clearly not been the same player and I have to think the mental energy expended during the push for 73 wins also took a toll on him and others. In this series, Draymond Green has not been good. And he will be the first to tell you that.
And what an absolute buzz saw the Warriors have run into with Oklahoma City. The best duo in the NBA, while at times enigmatic, has to be Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. In game 4, Westbrook posted a triple double and Durant added 26 points in limited action. The Thunder are more aggressive, look way faster, and have that look in their eyes like this is their year. After some major disappointments in the past, the Thunder seem to have corrected course. Look for the Thunder to enter the NBA finals as the favorite. That’s where my money is going.
Another major factor in this series largely overshadowed by the spectacular play of Westbrook and Durant has to be the coaching of Billy Donovan. While at Florida, Donovan coached some excellent future NBA players and seems to have hit his stride in this series. Donovan won two national championships at Florida and won over 460 games. He can coach.
The Warriors might have a comeback in the tank, but I’ve seen no signs they can match the intensity and execution of the Thunder.