Anyone who follows Detroit Bad Boys regularly (basically anyone who refers to this site as DBB) will be well versed in the fact that not only do we have some pretty great writers, we also have some of the best, most knowledgeable readers in the NBA. We thought it would be interesting and, honestly, a hell of a lot of fun to start a series where we throw three questions out on any given subject and have our writers and readers give their takes (temperature to be determined).
So without further ado,
DBB on 3, v1: Durexit
1- What was your gut reaction when you heard Kevin Durant was joining the Warriors?
Justin Lambregtse: I wasn't really surprised that Kevin Durant joined the Warriors because I was expecting it to happen. Kevin Durant knew he had to win a championship to be taken seriously in the eyes of many, and this is the best way to do it. I always hate the ring argument for anybody, but it is simply the nature of sports today, so I cannot blame Kevin Durant for joining a situation where he has a very good chance of winning one. I didn't care when LeBron did it, and I don't really care that Kevin Durant is doing it.
Ben Gulker: This will be fun.
Lazarus Jackson (lazchance): Shock, followed by joy. We're going to see basketball played at an INCREDIBLY high skill level night in and night out in Golden State. We're going to see an unfettered Russell Westbrook in full-on Count of Monte Cristo vengeance mode. Can you imagine the Christmas Day 8pm game? Can you imagine the panicked looks on all the weakside help defenders?
...Can you imagine if GSW still doesn't win a championship?
Steve Hinson: My gut reaction was that perhaps it won't really help the Warriors as much as everyone thinks. Scoring wasn't a problem for this team. But where's the rebounding going to come from? How are they going to match up when teams do try punishing them underneath? Filling a team with 30 point guys, don't you get to a point of diminishing returns? You could sort of see it with the dip in individual numbers with the Heat, especially Chris Bosh.
But I think my gut may have been wrong. Despite being mediocre on both the offensive and defensive boards last season, they were still 8th in overall rebounding percentage. They were sixth in defensive rating. But I do wonder how long it'll be before Durant gets pissed about Curry's ridiculous shots and sometimes bad turnovers.
Ben Quagliata: From a basketball perspective the offense on that team is going to be absolutely extraordinary. I have no problem with stars leaving teams in this fashion, especially when you consider Oklahoma City have almost, for lack of a better word, wasted Durant’s prime, and he deserves success.
That being said, I obviously understand the angst OKC fans are feeling right now. They’ve watched one of the most talented teams in the NBA being slowly dismantled piece by piece, and it really started with letting Harden leave.
Michael Snyder (Mophatt 1): Kevin Durant was going through the motions in summer ‘16 and setting himself up for next year. He was going to have billionaires at his mercy then promptly sign and 1 and 1 with OKC. That scenario made the most sense financially and would give the city that essentially raised him, one more chance to prove they’re worthy. So yeah, I was pretty shocked. That feeling quickly pivoted to excitement; OMG Durant is on the Warriors. As we’ve learned, nothing is as seamless as we first envision – you can’t just roll out a ball and say "go get em". Once these guys get clicking though, it has the opportunity to be basketball at the highest level we’ve ever seen.
Gabriel Frye-Behar: Uh oh.... Hmm... Cool.
Once the shock wore off that such a huge move actually happened again it felt right somehow. Since Lebron's ascendance to being the NBA's best player there hasn't been a great rivalry on the games biggest stage. If the NBA gets a finals rematch of the Warriors and Cavs next season, now with the Warriors in a full-fledged villain role, it will be (for better or worse) a fitting way to cap off the Lebron era.
Kevin Sawyer: Good for him. The notion he owes something to the franchise is utter nonsense. If the team hadn't cut corners by trading Harden, Durant would have a ring by now. If OKC fans want someone to blame, look to ownership.
Sean Wheeler (hypnowheel): Wow. I didn’t really think it would happen. Then, it was "Well, there goes any chance I’ll enjoy the NBA Finals next year." The reason being that we now have two Super Teams - the LeBrons and the Ultimate Warriors - neither of which I feel comfortable rooting for. The pre-Durant Warriors were built from the draft and I love their style of play, but now there’s something disappointing about the rich getting so much richer.
Glenn Metzger: Good for him. Honestly, I've never thought that Durant had a huge ego, and his comments about Reggie Jackson and Detroit aside, he's never rubbed me the wrong way. He certainly hasn't come off the way that some other players in the league have to me, like some on Miami or the Clippers or Cleveland, so I don't root for the other team automatically because I hate seeing Durant win.
Kenneth Wallace (revken): I was a little surprised because I thought he'd probably stick with OKC another year. But I thought going to Golden State was his best shot at getting a ring, and think he has as much right to change teams for that reason as any guy has for moving to earn more money. I don't understand why moving for more money is any more noble than moving to increase your chances at winning a title. Most of all I was relieved that he didn't go to Boston.
Vincent Diringer: I love this for two reasons – one being that they will be playing an incredibly entertaining style of basketball, and two, well it screws over one of my least favorite NBA teams.
Packey: "Oh shit!" but I had to keep that in my gut because my children were around.
2 - Do you think the NBA will be better or worse for this situation?
Justin Lambregtse: I don't think the NBA will be better or worse for this situation. The biggest thing that I have noticed is many casual fans that I have talked to saying how they will no longer care about the NBA because of this. I don't think it is a forgone conclusion that the Warriors are going to win a championship, or even win the West. They lost some size in order to add Durant, plus lost some of their bench. I am of the mindset that they didn't really get better, that might be a minority opinion, however.
Ben Gulker: I don't think I accept the premise of the question, at least insofar as it is being discussed nationally. The NBA has always had parity issues. Every generation of players has its stacked teams that compete year after year after year. Can you imagine the Bill Russel Celtics in today's media environment? The sleeper in the conversation is that this kind of situation always creates opportunities for savvy franchises to invest in undervalued talent.
Lazarus Jackson: The league has always been at it's most entertaining and best when there are stars standing in opposition.
Wilt vs. Russell. Magic vs Larry. Michael vs Everyone. Kobe vs. Duncan. The defining matchup of the aughts is very clearly LeBron vs. Steph, with Durant's legacy still to be written. Watching that story unfold in front of our eyes can be nothing but good for the league.
Steve Hinson: LeBron changed teams and the NBA survived. Better, worse, for whom? Fans? Fans need to get some perspective. Taking videos of themselves making their children cry because a player left their team. For players? You know, as poorly done as The Decision was, it was good that it at least opened up the opportunity for players like Durant to really consider all of their options. Personally, I'd hate being forced to live in a place like Oklahoma City just because it happened to be the place I started my career and I was successful at what I did (No offense OKC, you're just not for me). So players feeling like they can choose their own path, thumbs up.
Ben Quagliata: To me, the NBA will always get better. Fresh new talent to watch in the league purely from the draft with guys like Simmons, Ingram and the rest of the high picks. Free agency always renews my interest in the league because I love seeing how new guys fare with their teams. The dumpster fire that is the Bulls alone will make the Central worth watching.
Fans? While some fans may not like this whole process and how it’s gone down, the league is now undeniably more entertaining with this infusion of controversy. Players? The players are still making millions of dollars whether they play for the best team or the worst. I think they’re fine. Parity? When Lebron joined the Heat with Bosh and Wade in 2010, everyone thought they’d win every year. Last year, two teams were on record pace at one stage, and neither won the championship.
Michael Snyder (Mophatt 1): This is great for the NBA in terms of popularity / talking points as people hate Goliath and, on paper, the Dubs are the most Goliath team ever assembled. Every time Golden State plays, Twitter is going to be on fire; how could that be bad for the NBA suits?
The only "fans" that should have a beef are the OKC faithful. As an organization and fan base, they did everything right (except win the big one) but couldn’t keep Durant from the Bay Area. The whole burning Durant jerseys is so lame and contrived, I don’t buy any of that.
Gabriel Frye-Behar: Better. When the league has truly great teams with larger than life personalities it energizes the sport. I also feel exactly zero sympathy for OKC. All the ink spilled over how much of a crushing blow Durant's departure is to a small market team seems misdirected. The Thunder lucked into one of the all-time greatest core groups in league history, with every key player entering their prime years within the exact same window. It was basically unprecedented. Then they willingly chose to trade one of the members of that core because of financial reasons. When you show your star players that financial considerations are just as important as what happens on the basketball court, you open yourself up to the potential for serious blowback. Them's the breaks.
Kevin Sawyer: OKC management made a bad basketball decision, and when bad basketball decisions are also bad business decisions, the lesson learned is good for the league. Also, people tuning in to watch basketball games is good for the league, and that will certainly happen with greater frequency.
Sean Wheeler (hypnowheel): The Ultimate Warriors are a result of the NBA making a pretty big mistake in managing the new salary cap. Rather than having a favorite vs an underdog in the NBA Finals, we will have two super teams fighting over who wins the most rings. I’ve heard all the arguments in defense of this move, but I hate it. It’s bad for Kevin Durant and it’s bad for the NBA. All-star teams may make for "beautiful basketball," but are 30-point blowouts "beautiful?"
Glenn Metzger: I think it's hard to tell because the potential exists that next summer will see even more player movement. All the short term deals signed combined with the big jump in cap space means to me that this is a one-year situation for now. In that light, for one year, I think the NBA is better off because it's a new storyline to drive this upcoming season. I think a lot of people are excited to tune in and see what happens.
Kenneth Wallace (revken): I think this move will actually generate more interest once the season begins because fans will want to see if the Warriors are better with Durant. And if they stumble any, that will generate even more discussion. No doubt the first time the Cavs and Warriors play next season will be an incredibly hyped game. I do think it will be even tougher for the Warriors to hold this team together next summer, when max contracts to Curry and Durant could have them paying their four core guys over $100M.
Vincent Diringer: Better, the amount of hype around the new-look Warriors will be phenomenal and it’ll be great to watch them play together. There have always been superteams in the NBA, and they’ve always been entertaining to watch, I for one think the NBA will benefit greatly from this (as will all NBA fans not situated in Oklahoma).
Packey: Better for basketball in terms of how basketball is played, because the Warriors are going to be magic on the court. I think the smart business men of the league will say worse and would have rather had Durant stay with OKC or go to a struggling big market team. For instance, the Warriors-Thunder series, Game 7 in particular, rated the most watched in cable history. It is hard to envision any Game 7s in the Western Conference in 2016-2017 or any Western Conference playoff games as popular as that series, and that's because Durant was on the opposition. You probably don't want to see fans burning your products either...
3 - How does this situation affect the long and short term success of the Pistons?
Justin Lambregtse: I don't think this has too much of a negative effect on short-term success of the Pistons because I still think they are 3-4 years away from contention. I think by the time the Pistons are rising to championship contender status, the Warriors will have issues keeping their team together, which will present an opportunity for them to win a Championship, plus the Cavs will be falling back at that point as LeBron continues to age.
Ben Gulker: The road to the Finals goes through Cleveland for at least two years and potentially more depending on how well LeBron James plays into his mid 30s. Worrying about the Warriors is putting the cart before the horse. The Drummond Contender remains an unproven hypothesis at this point, and the Pistons' focus should not be in California right now. Internal development and incremental improvement through trades and the draft should remain the priority for 16-17 and 17-18.
Lazarus Jackson: If you believe, as I do, that Andre Drummond can be the best player on a championship team, then this move shouldn't bother you at all. Kevin Durant's move to Golden State doesn't affect the Pistons at all, because the Pistons' measure of success, in the short term, should not be measured in championships.
The next two to three seasons are about seeing if Andre ever hits his full potential, if the game slows down enough for him to become the defensive stalwart we know he can be, or if he can continue to develop his offensive repertoire beyond jump hooks and drop-steps, or if he finds a comfortable free-throw stroke.
Steve Hinson: Eh, not much. Short term, this doesn't really change the landscape of the Eastern Conference so much. They need to move their way up their own conference before worrying about the other side of the bracket.
Long term, if the Pistons are going to make the jump to contender, they're going to have to be able to beat good teams. Even if the Warriors superteam fizzles, some other superteam might pop up. The Pistons will have to go beat them. The Mavs and Spurs both did it to the Heat. The Pistons did it to the Lakers. As Chauncey Billups used to say, sometimes ad nauseam, if it ain't rough it ain't right.
Ben Quagliata: Kevin Durant going to Golden State really has a very minimal effect on the Pistons. They play twice a year as always and the landscape of the Eastern conference remains largely unaltered. Long term, the Pistons, I think most expect them to really be in their peak contention time frame in 3-5 years, in the prime years of Andre Drummond. The Pistons could be poised for a run of some sorts, as Golden State will be on the back end of their prime years with guys like Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant all hitting their early-to-mid 30s. That doesn’t mean another ultimate contender won’t come up, but as of right now with how the NBA offseason as a whole has panned out, I don’t feel better or worse for the Pistons odds.
Michael Snyder (Mophatt 1): Short term, not much.
Long term is much more interesting. The NBA is a copycat and reactionary league. No one can copy the exact offensive talent of the Warriors so how will teams react? Who’s going to crack the code?
People are quick to write off the big man in professional basketball. Small ball and versatility are what’s cool. What if Greg Oden’s knees worked? What if Andrew Bynum cared about basketball? Would the league be tailored to beat and defend those guys? Those types of talents are just as rare as guys with unlimited shooting range. Now, can anyone think of a young, still improving big man that has the capability to dominate? For as great as Draymond Green is – and he’s great, make no mistake – he can’t cover a TRUE big. Is our very own Andre Drummond the glitch in the Warriors system? He has a long way to go but maybe, just maybe he’s the guy that’s up to the challenge. What do you say Andre: Are you afraid to compete against yourself?
Gabriel Frye-Behar: It doesn't really affect either. To win a championship the Pistons first and foremost need Andre Drummond to become the most dominant interior force in the NBA. There are other highly talented up and coming bigs scattered around the league, but none with the combination of sheer size, strength and explosiveness that Dre brings. The Pistons championship window, if it ever does open, will do so when Dre smashes it open.
Kevin Sawyer: No impact. The Pistons are at least one major piece away from contention, so they should focus on winning and becoming a suitable destination for a top tier free agent. If and when the time comes, Golden State will be beatable with the right personnel.
Sean Wheeler (hypnowheel): The Warriors’ core is about four years older than the Pistons’ core, so even if KD stays long-term, they should be on the way down by the time Detroit is ready to peak around 2019-20. Just like the Cavs.
Glenn Metzger: I don't think it affects the Pistons much at all. There's no guarantee that the Warriors will still be together when the Pistons would be in position to see them in the Finals, so I don't see much of an opponent conflict. As far as team building, MAYBE it helps them attract players, because they are one of the few teams in the East with a young core to build around. I could see free agents leaving the West for easier schedules in the East and thinking the Pistons would be an attractive landing spot. I don't put much weight behind that though, and in the end I think his decision has little affect on the Pistons.
Kenneth Wallace (revken): Short-term I think it has little effect upon us, because I don't think we're a contender to make the Finals this season. If Golden State can hold their core together beyond next summer and still keep an acceptable group of 4-5 role players, then that could make it much harder for us to win a championship in 3-4 years, which I think is when our window can really open.
Vincent Diringer: I don’t think it does, so far all the moves associated to Durant’s decision have been limited to the Western Conference and I don’t see it affecting us at all. If anything it just means we won’t sweep them in the Finals, they might grab a win or something. All joking aside, I’d be more worried about the Indiana Pacers, who’ve had a sneaky good offseason so far.
Packey: Not at all.