Kevin Durant was one of the most high-profile free agents on the market this summer and there was an abundance of speculation about whether he would stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder or start afresh with a new team.
The Thunder, Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs all met with Durant in an attempt to convince him to join their respective franchises.
In the end, the 27-year-old opted to pick the Warriors and his decision to do so will do wonders for arguably the most exciting team in the NBA right now.
With that being said, we take a look at five benefits Durant will bring to the Warriors.
1. A strong forward
There is no doubt that the Warriors lacked a solid forward. Until now, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green have been the Warriors’ go-to small forward and power forward respectively.
With Barnes reportedly agreeing to a four-year max deal with the Dallas Mavericks that is understood to be worth in the region of $95 million, there will be a gaping hole left in the Warriors’ front court, but the acquisition of Durant has already solved that problem.
Green, meanwhile, may have been second on the list of triple-doubles during the 2015/16 regular season, but his output was highly inconsistent at times. Furthermore, during the playoffs, the 26-year-old found himself in hot water on a number of occasions as he continuously struck opposing players in the groin. The controversy affected Green physically and mentally and he was nowhere near as dominant as he had previously been.
2. Another scoring option
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Those two players are enough to strike fear in any NBA team as all of them know what the duo are capable of.
Curry became the first unanimously-voted NBA MVP, and for good reason as he guided the Warriors to the best start in NBA history and helped them enjoy the best season in NBA history. Thompson showed flashes of brilliance throughout the season and really stepped up at times when Curry was having one of his rare off shooting nights.
No doubt the pair will play a pivotal role once again next season, but add Durant into the mix and the Warriors are looking even scarier, with Durant no slouch when it comes to scoring. Last season, Durant averaged 28.2 points per game, to go with 8.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.2 blocks. Amazing stats to say the least, but when coupled with what Curry and Thompson can do, it remains to be seen whether any team will be able to stop the trio.
3. A leader
Warriors GM Bob Myers’ pitch to Kevin Durant pic.twitter.com/go777OfvbT
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 4, 2016
Curry, Thompson and Andre Iguodala have led the Warriors with great success, and the acquisition of Durant will take the pressure of the Warriors’ stars and allow them to play more freely.
Furthermore, Durant knows what it takes to be the leader of a team. Having been the Thunder’s franchise player for his entire career, Durant is well accustomed to handling pressure situations, rising to the occasion and leading his team through difficult times.
4. An unselfish player
Durant has never been a player that constantly wants to steal the spotlight or looks to pad his own stats.
With Curry and Thompson in a similar mold, there is no doubt that they will gel well with Durant.
The Warriors pride themselves on playing team basketball and it been well highlighted throughout the last couple of seasons. It has also been one of the key reasons why they have enjoyed so much success as of late.
And so Durant fits right in with the Warriors’ unselfish philosophy as he is a player that puts his team first rather than himself.
5. A real chance to win another NBA title
During this season’s playoffs, the Warriors were pushed to the brink of elimination in their Western Conference final clash with the Thunder, largely due to Durant and Russell Westbrook.
While they overcame a 3-1 deficit to advance to the NBA Finals, the Warriors found themselves 3-1 up against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but despite only needing to win one more game to retain their NBA title, they floundered in spectacular fashion as the Cavaliers made history en route to winning their first-ever NBA title.
After a heart-breaking loss, the Warriors will look to regroup and launch their bid for another title next season. Having bolstered their line-up with the addition of Durant, the Warriors have definitely increased their chances of getting their hands on the trophy that eluded them this season.