The notion that the Warriors are a better team without Kevin Durant is silly and shouldn’t be taken seriously, Sam Amick writes for The Athletic.
Durant has missed Golden State’s last four games — all of which were wins — leading some to question how much better he truly makes the team. His absence has allowed Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and most notably Draymond Green to operate more with their surrounding cast, playing more up-tempo without their most talented player.
“We’re confident we can win (every time out), but we would much rather have (Durant) playing,” Curry said after Game 2, according to Amick. “So we’re going to hold the fort down till he gets back and go win another championship with our full squad. You know, him and DeMarcus (Cousins, who could return from his quad injury in this series), as well. We understand how great of players they are and how they raise our ceiling even higher.”
Multiple Warriors players have labeled Durant as the best talent on the team this season. The all-out recruitment of Durant, led by Green and others in 2016, kicked off because the team wanted another go-to scorer and all-around superstar on the wing.
Before suffering his strained calf against the Rockets, Durant was averaging a scorching 34.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game in the playoffs. He shot 51% from the field and 42% from deep during those 11 contests.
There’s more today from the Pacific Division:
- The Kings have announced their first pre-draft workout of the year, scheduled to take place on Monday, May 20. Armoni Brooks (Houston), Jon Axel Gudmundsson (Davidson), Xavier Sneed (Kansas State), Yoeli Childs (BYU), Reggie Perry (Mississippi State) and Kevin Samuel (TCU) will all be in attendance.
- Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report explores whether the No. 4 pick in this year’s draft could give the Lakers the best trade package for Anthony Davis. Los Angeles could combine the pick with other future assets and young players such as Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram or Josh Hart, though competing with the Celtics for the best trade proposal could be difficult. Davis remains intent on leaving New Orleans and expects his trade request to be honored this offseason.
- Former NBA guard Jamaal Franklin plans to attend a free agent mini camp with the Kings next week, Nicola Lupo of Sportando tweets. Franklin last played in the league during the 2014-15 season with Denver, having spent the past five seasons in China.