The Golden State Warriors are on pace to break the single-season NBA wins record. The Suns are not. 

      
 
 

Golden State comes to Phoenix on a pace that threatens to break the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls' single-season win record.

      
 
 

The Suns have a history of wheeling and dealing. Here is a closer look at some notable trades in Suns history.

      
 
 

Imagine it.

It's no secret that you need star players to win in the NBA, and Kevin Durant has been a remarkable player, regardless of who he's been surrounded by.  After another MVP-caliber season in 2015-2016, it should be a no-brainer that any and every team in the league will do whatever it takes to recruit the soon-to-be free agent to their side, right?

Surprisingly, after Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Golden State Warriors were determined to recruit Durant, not everyone thought it would be a good move.

The apprehension came from few different angles.  Warrior legend Rick Barry commented that it would only be a good fit "if he's (Durant) willing to take a subservient role, and not be the big guy ... he's not gonna be the same guy. He's not gonna be the focal point.  Long time Bay Area sportswriter Bruce Jenkins was also unsure of it, saying they are "just fine as they are."  Jenkins couldn't resist playing the chemistry card either:

"There’s a distinct rhythm to great basketball teams, and it is something to be cherished and preserved."

ESPN's Ethan Sherwood Strauss offered up a more quantifiable complaint about a potential Golden State Durant acquisition:

There's only one ball: How are we getting touches for Curry, Durant, Green and Thompson?

Strauss cuts to the core of what everyone else was dancing around with the being "the man" versus being "subservient" comments; who gets to take the most shots.

For the sake of argument, let's pretend that Durant refuses to take fewer shots as a condition of joining the Warriors. Assuming everyone's minutes per game hold steady next year for the sake of simplicity, we need to find 18.7 shots per game to give to Theoretical Greedy Durant to match his Thunder attempts from this season, and keep him happy.  Even though Golden State has the best offense in the league this season, there's always room for improvement; we can find plenty of bad shots to send in hypothetical 2016-2017 Warrior Durant's direction:

  • Harrison Barnes:  He plays the same position as Durant, and is looking for a big contract.  All Durant to Golden State rumors involve Barnes moving on, so we'll assume Durant takes his roster spot and all of his shots.  We're at 9.9 shots for Durant.
  • Marreese Speights:  Mo Buckets takes a ton of shots in his limited minutes.  Even though he's posted an extremely poor 45.0% true shooting for the year, he still shamelessly jacks up 26.5 shots per 48 minutes, second on the team only to Stephen Curry.  I'm going to assume we can replace his minutes with an average power forward that only takes 16.1 shots per 48 minutes. Or someone can pull a Larry Bird and let Speights know those extra shots are Durant's shots.  Factoring in Speights minutes and the reduction that frees up 3.7 shots. We're now at 13.6 shots for Durant.
  • Klay Thompson:  He is one of the best three-point shooters in the league and rightfully takes a lot of them, but also takes a lot of two point shots, which he isn't as good at.  That might be okay for a regular team, but for this incredible team, we can afford to steal some of those shots.  I'm going to take four of them and turn him into more of a three-point specialist. Alright, that puts us at 17.6 shots per game for Durant. Almost there!
  • Draymond Green:  He's had a much improved season from three-point range, but still isn't a Durant-caliber two-point shooter.  It's also a part of the Woj rumor that Draymond is willing to sacrifice to bring in Durant, so in the spirit of rumors let's take three of his two-point shots per game.  That puts us at 20.6 shots per game for Durant!

We're already well over Greedy Durant's quota and could give a couple of shots back to Klay if he pouts.  If that still doesn't seem realistic, there are bench guys like Leandro Barbosa that shoot a fair amount that we could take shots away from.  Curry himself may want to welcome Durant and become more of a passer, but we'd advise against that strategy.   

Remember, this is the worst case scenario.  If Durant does agree to come west, he likely isn't as greedy as I'm assuming, and would be willing to sacrifice a few shots to keep his new teammates happy.

Even if we've established that there are enough shots to go around on the hypothetical Durant Super Friends 2016-2017 Warriors, what about all those bad fit and bad chemistry concerns, would he really disrupt the team?  We think that "chemistry" is overthinking it, but Patrick and Dre do have some answers.

Unlike Rick Barry, Patrick thinks it's a good fit for the Warriors offense:

Durant is without question the only MVP-caliber player in the league who actually fits into their offensive systems. He won't take the ball out of Curry's hands, or "steal" any of his shots (he already thrives alongside Westbrook). He plays extremely well off the ball (doesn't need to be a primary ball handler to be effective), he fits perfectly when they go small ball, etc.

Dre doesn't buy the Strauss argument that Durant is all offense and no defense:

The 2013 Thunder were 4th in Defense, and lost in large part due to a Westbrook injury in the playoffs.  They were 6th in defense in 2013!

I just don't buy these "defensive sieve" arguments! 

Durant does just about everything better than average. He does have the "LeBron James" offensive rebound problem. Fun reason...he makes too many shots he doesn't generate enough offensive rebound chances! His rebounds and blocks are above average, his steals are slightly below average, but he fouls less too.

Durant is Dirk Nowitzki...if Dirk also rebounded and played D....

Finally, there's team depth.  Again from Patrick:

On Durant, there are more reasons, the most important of which is robustness. For instance, what happens if Curry gets injured? In the current scenario, GSW goes from GOAT-caliber team to a good playoff team. Can't see them beating the Spurs without Curry.

If they had Durant, though? Well, they lost one MVP candidate, but still have another.

Don't overthink it too much; adding one of the best scorers of all time to an all time great team would be a nightmare for the rest of the league.  Rick Barry said it best in the same interview where he doubted the move, hedging his bet:

"If he's willing to come and he's willing to do that, that would be unbelievable ... They got Steph. They got Klay. They got Draymond ... how do you guard that lineup?"

Suns rookie Devin Booker’s day was booked full with a team practice, a documentary shoot with The Players’ Tribune and a 3-Point Shootout practice in front of Suns employees before he had to hurry to a dentist appointment while his father is visiting

      
 
 

Page 5 of 2368

5

Web Links

Sponsored Ads