There's a difference between better and better to watch.
Since the severe calf injury suffered to one Kevin Durant, NBA fans have thrown vitriol at the KD, the pound-for-pound best player in the Association, as the Warriors have rolled through the rest of the Western Conference without him.
It's easy to point the finger at Durant, suggesting the Dubs beautiful version of the game which is commonly on display without him means Steve Kerr's squad is actually better off without the former MVP. This couldn't be further from the truth.
The Warriors with Durant are a different team when they lack his services. Surely, this is undeniable.
Nonetheless, we cannot ignore the fact that the Warriors were down double-digits to the Portland Trail Blazers, a team that did not belong in the Western Conference Finals, three times without KD. Sure, Portland folded under the pressure and the Dubs took advantage. But let's not mistake seasoned from better.
Why does Kevin Durant use social media to join the conversation about himself? “I’m qualified.” His full answer. pic.twitter.com/xFPntIrw4t— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 24, 2019
Draymond Green called Durant from the parking lot after blowing a 3-1 lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a reason. When everything goes wrong--Draymond suspended, Curry injured and Kerr's questionable subs in a Game 7--the Warriors should still be able to defeat any substantial competition in today's Association.
For better or worse, the Dubs signed Durant as a backup plan, and he thus far has led them to two straight NBA championships, going toe-to-toe with the best player of his generation in the process.
Don't let any of that get lost in this recent Warriors run. Golden State can win without Durant, but that doesn't make them better.