The Golden State Warriors have established themselves as the team to beat in the Western Conference. With Kevin Durant joining Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and the up-tempo Warriors, they have the most talented starting five in the NBA; however, this starting five is reminiscent of the 2013 Los Angeles Lakers.
The 2017 Warriors Are Reminiscent of the 2013 Lakers
The 2012-13 Lakers
Going into the 2012-13 season, the Los Angeles Lakers were arguably the best team in the West, on paper. By signing veteran point guard Steve Nash and acquiring superstar center Dwight Howard, while retaining both All-Star big man Pau Gasol and forward Metta World Peace, the Lakers possessed the most talented starting five in the NBA. Future Hall of Fame guard Kobe Bryant was also on their team; however, this team produced at a mediocre level, thanks to lack of chemistry. Howard and Bryant, the team’s two superstars, couldn’t build any sort of chemistry, and their lack of it, doomed the Lakers. Also, Pau Gasol had arguably the worst year of his career as he got very few touches in the paint due to Howard’s constant need for the ball. This team was also the beginning of the end for Steve Nash. While Nash did average a tad over 12 points a game, he averaged a career low in assists as a starter. Nash was then plagued by injuries and retired in 2015.
This Laker team ended up sneaking their way into the seventh seed in the Western Conference, but only to be swept by the San Antonio Spurs. The 2012-13 Lakers became the model for why it’s not wise to build a super team; however, the Golden State Warriors went against that philosophy.
The 2016-17 Warriors
The Warriors signed superstar forward Kevin Durant to go along with what was already an elite squad. Durant joins two-time MVP point guard Stephen Curry, star guard Klay Thompson, and versatile forward Draymond Green. The Warriors,with Durant, have the most talented starting five in the NBA; however, there are parts of this team that are very reminiscent of the 2013 Lakers.
Who gets the ball?
Durant and Curry, like Bryant and Howard, need the ball to be effective offensively. They’re not used to playing off their teammates and facilitating at a high level. Since they’re both players who need the ball in their hands, the question becomes who gets the ball at the end of the game? Both Durant and Curry have been the go to guys on their teams in years’ past; however, neither one has been known to defer. Curry has always been the man in Golden State, and Durant was always the guy in Oklahoma City. At the end of the day, Curry will probably have the ball in his hands at the end of the game, but this will be a big adjustment for Kevin Durant; however, he isn’t the only superstar that had to undergo a changed role.
Kevin Durant is in the same position Dwight Howard was
Dwight Howard had to go undergo a major adjustment, much like Durant. He had to defer to Kobe Bryant throughout the year, and it proved to be a struggle for Howard. Howard has always been a player who needs the ball in his hands to be effective, and him taking a backseat to Bryant was a failed experiment, especially the fact that he’s a post player. As a result, Howard averaged the lowest amount of points in his career since his sophomore season, and while he still brought in a bevy of rebounds, he didn’t bring them in like he used to. Howard deferring to Bryant, and Durant deferring to Curry are very similar situations. In addition to Durant, Green will also find himself in a similar situation to a player on that Laker squad.
Draymond Green’s situation is identical to Pau Gasol’s
Draymond Green has become one of the best two way forwards in the NBA. He is a great defender, a good outside shooter, and a great passer; however, his role on this Warrior team will be reduced significantly. With the addition of Durant, Green has become the fourth option offensively, and he will be getting fewer touches as a result. There are going to be times when he feels he should be getting the ball, but Durant and Thompson will feel the need to pad their stats and try to force up shots. Green’s role on this team is unclear, but he’s not the only player to undergo this type of a role change.
Former Laker big man Pau Gasol had to adapt to a stellar player next to him with Dwight Howard. While Gasol was already the number two option offensively, Howard and free agent signee Steve Nash made Gasol a forgotten scoring option. This scenario did not work out well for Gasol, and was another part of the Lakers unsuccessful attempt at a super team. Draymond Green is in a near identical situation as Gasol was. He was to adjust to becoming the fourth option on offense, and being the vocal, expressive guy that he is, Green’s in-existence at times will lead to some internal issues.
This Warriors team has the most talented starting five in the NBA; however, they’re a superstar team, and the 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers are the perfect example for why their super team efforts may fail.