Kevin Durant joining the “big three” in Oakland has created the first ever “big four.” There’s only one problem: there is eventually going to be a tip-off (That’s why the site is called “Before the Tip.” Get it?) and the Warriors will have to put a fifth player on the floor. I mean, I didn’t look it up or anything but I’m pretty sure that’s a hard and fast rule. That means the Warriors are going to have to put someone on the floor with Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Shoot. One of the big four may even take a break (voluntary or forced – I’m looking at you Draymond) every now and then forcing the Warriors to put someone on the floor for them too.
Why is that a big deal? Let’s recap: since losing the NBA Championship to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Warriors have lost:
Harrison Barnes (SF, 11.7 PTS, 4.9 REBS, 1.8 ASTS, 0.6 STLS, 0.2 BLKS, 30.9 MPG) to the Dallas Mavericks;
Andrew Bogut (C, 5.4 PTS, 7.0 REBS, 2.3 ASTS, 0.5 STLS, 1.6 BLKS, 20.7 MPG) to the Mavericks;
Festus Ezeli (C, 7.0 PTS, 5.6 REBS, 0.7 ASTS, 0.4 STLS, 1.1 BLKS, 16.7 MPG) to the Portland Trailblazers;
Leandro Barbosa (SG, 6.4 PTS, 1.7 REBS, 1.2 ASTS, 0.6 STLS, 0.1 BLKS, 15.9 MPG) to the Phoenix Suns;
Brandon Rush (SG, 1.6 PTS, 1.6 REBS, 0.2 ASTS, 0.1 STLS, 0.3 BLKS, 14.7MPG) to the Minnesota Timberwolves; and
Marreese Speights (C, 7.1 PTS, 3.3 REBS, 0.8 ASTS, 0.3 STLS, 0.5 BLKS, 11.6 MPG) to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Here’s who the Warriors have picked up (excluding draft picks):
Kevin Durant (SF, 28.2 PTS, 8.2 REBS, 5.0 ASTS, 1.0 STLS, 1.2 BLKS, 35.8 MPG) from the Oklahoma City Thunder;
Zaza Pachulia (PF, 8.6 PTS, 9.4 REBS, 1.7 ASTS, 0.8 STLS, 0.3 BLKS, 26.4 MPG) from the Mavericks; and
David West (PF, 7.1 PTS, 4.0 REBS, 1.8 ASTS, 0.6 STLS, 0.7 BLKS, 18.0 MPG) from the San Antonio Spurs.
The net production change so far this offseason is +4.7 PTS, -2.5 REBS, +1.5 ASTS, -0.1 STLS, -1.6 BLKS, -30.3 MPG. It’s that last stat, -30.3 MPG, that led to reports the Warriors were “in talks” with Dewayne Dedmon and Willie Reed last week. Who are Dewayne Dedmon and Willie Reed you ask? Great question. Honestly, I have no idea. Considering they signed with the Spurs and Miami Heat respectively, I don’t care. Then again, maybe I do…
No matter how you feel about the Durant signing, the Warriors are going to lead SportsCenter, land in the Starting 5 of BTT’s own Jazz & Gc Podcast, and end up on our TVs more than we care to think about in July. What made that fact bearable, if not great, the last couple years wasn’t just the Splash Brothers, the 2015 title, and the record breaking 73-win season. It was also a supporting cast that included the Brazilian Blur, a heat check center, and a guy whose actual name is Festus. For all the talk of the Warrior’s “Big 3,” the “Strength in Numbers” on their team t-shirts wasn’t just a marketing slogan but how their team was built and won. It also made their actual games, not just the highlights, great TV.
Now the numbers are gone. Sadly, we already know what a team of superstars with a roster filled out by league minimum players and veterans hanging on for one last shot at a title looks like and it’s far from great TV: it’s most of LeBron James’ recent teams. The good news is the formula works and the Warriors are deservedly the heavy favorites to win the title next year. The bad news is the Warriors will be giving roughly 30 minutes a game to the Matthew Dellavedovas, Shawn Marions, and Richard Jeffersons of the world. Before throwing your remote or cursing at the Warriors after watching Kevon Looney air ball a potential game winner (Google “Matthew Delavedova loses game” and you’ll know what I’m talking about) just remember, it’s not because they want to play Kevon Looney but because they have to. The “Big 4” is literally not enough not to.