Wednesday 13 December 2017 / 08:44 AM

STACKED WARRIORS FUEL RIVALS’ COMPETITIVE FIRE

I’ve read dozens of articles proclaiming the NBA is doomed because Durant is able to play for Golden State. The comments range from the, “let’s just fast forward to the Finals and give the Warriors the trophy” to, “See you later, NBA. I’ll be back when it’s fair again”.

Really? Nothing Durant or the Warriors did is breaking any NBA rules. Just because he is an exceptional player does not mean that the Warriors are now going to be allowed to have seven players on the court instead of five. It’s still an even playing field.


For weeks, I’ve been waiting for someone to say this: lace ‘em up. Thankfully, it’s none other than the great Kobe Bryant who started talking sense.

“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,’” Bryant said.

“If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.’”

A true competitor will rise to any challenge fearlessly. Do you hear of any active NBA players showing an ounce of fear because of the trade? Absolutely not. You can bet that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony are all thinking the same thing: “We’ll see you when we see you.”

A true competitor like Bryant is disappointed because he won’t get the opportunity to shut down all the hype. Do you think part of Michael Jordan wishes he had his ’96 Bulls on the court in 2013 to shut down LeBron the Miami Heat? Absolutely. Do you think LeBron would have wanted MJ to get his wish? Absolutely. That’s the nature of the competitive drive.

There is a thirst for blood in the NBA to headhunt the overhyped teams. Golden State is now a team in the crosshairs for every playoff-contending team in the NBA. If you don’t think Gregg Popovich already has a game-plan down against the strengthened Warriors, you’re slacking.

The Cavaliers just shut down the Warriors in seven games carrying the essentially deadweight Kevin Love through the entire series. It’s silly to assume that Love isn’t training his ass off right now and studying Durant’s every move so that when and if the time comes in 2017, he can silence the doubters.

If anyone’s hungry for the championship, it’s going to the similarly talked-up New York Knicks. The organization hasn’t won a championship since 1972, yet is dead center in the largest metropolitan area in the world. They play at the Mecca of basketball, Madison Square Garden, and have been getting blown out for almost half a century. The one year they have a stacked team that could possibly bring home a championship, Kevin Durant steals the spotlight. Lace ’em up.

There’s nothing wrong with the Warriors wanting to have the best possible team they can get, and sure, bringing Kevin Durant to the Bay is a big move for them. Moves so big tend to shift the focus and pressure directly onto a team.

Excluding Tim Duncan, the NBA is filled with guys who have a thirst for attention and legacy. There isn’t a single guy who doesn’t want to remembered in the Hall of Fame and be considered one of the greatest. Psychologically, those Alpha types who want attention don’t react passively when it goes to someone else.

They train harder, and they focus. And for now, the focus is on Golden State. There are very few opportunities where all the spotlight is on a single team like it is now – and it makes the Warriors so much more ripe for the picking.

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About the author

Alex Moskov

Alex has come on board with CBS as our basketball and gridiron expert, providing opinions and analysis from the bright lights of the NBA and NFL.

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