The Warriors stole the show this summer by signing one of the most coveted free agents in NBA history when they signed Kevin Durant to a 2-year, $54.3 million deal. In doing so, the Warriors lost a little bit of size with players like Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli leaving the team for other destinations. The sacrifice was one worth taking as the Warriors have one of the best starting lineups in NBA history. With back-to-back MVP Stephen Curry at the helm running point guard, an arguably top 5 shooting guard in Klay Thompson at the two, seven-time All-Star Kevin Durant at the three, and one of the better all-around NBA players in Draymond Green, the Warriors are a scary group for other teams to face.
With that being said, many players around the league have expressed their frustrations with how the Warriors have structured their team, as well as how Durant made the decision to leave Oklahoma City, to join an already historically great team in the Warriors. Players around the league would like a piece of the Warriors this year, which raises the question: Are the Warriors fit to be the villain?
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban brought up the villain subject when asked about the Warriors, and it makes a ton of sense.
They become the villain,” Cuban told ESPN on Wednesday, a day after Silver indicated that changes in the collective bargaining agreement are needed to prevent similar situations from developing in the future. “Just like when LeBron James went to Miami, I loved that there was a villain. They become the villain. I’m fine with that. Everybody’s going to root for them to lose.”
If you look back at how the league has been, and when it has been at its best, especially TV ratings wise, it is best when there are dominant teams. The 1990’s era was one of the best eras in professional basketball, yet it was still controlled and dominated by the Chicago Bulls winning six titles in that decade. Regardless of the market size, the NBA is at its peak when it has all of its biggest stars clustered on a couple of teams (Commissioner Adam Silver doesn’t seem to agree). As Cuban mentioned, it worked for Miami, and created some compelling basketball headlines. The Warriors already have a big fan base, but with them now being a bigger super team than before, it will cause many people to now dislike them.
That is the difference between this dominant Warriors team compared to many others. The Bulls and Jordan were considered a pretty loved team because of how transcendent Jordan was. They may have been hated by few, sure, but the overall consensus was that the general fan wanted to see them pull off those three peats.
It is different for this Warriors team now. Since they did not finish the job this past year, people may have considered their ‘greatest team of all-time’ notion pretty shaky. But with the addition of Durant, they will be even more of a ‘villain’, and a pretty damn good one too.