Camelot in the NBA is located on 7000 Coliseum Way in Oakland, California, a place where the best basketball in the history of the league has been played.
But every now and then, despite having a slew of stars and a head coach who’s learned under Hall of Famers, Camelot gets shaken up. The knights inside of the castle that is Oracle Arena, sometimes they don’t see eye-to-eye.
That’s what happened last Monday night in Los Angeles, when Draymond Green didn’t take kindly to Kevin Durant demonstratively asking for the ball on the final play in regulation, a game the Warriors eventually lost in overtime to the Clippers.
Unless you’ve been living in an area with no Wi-Fi, then you know what happened over the last week with the Warriors. Green went off, spewing words towards the two-time Finals MVP that got him suspended for a game — words that would’ve gotten me grounded by my mama as a kid.
This heated argument between the two All-Stars has led everybody to anticipate what’ll happen next July when Durant can opt-out of his deal and leave Camelot behind.
At Warriors media day, I was convinced that Durant was coming back to open the Chase Center after the Warriors capped off a three-peat. How could anyone walk away from that? Now, Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles could see how distraught Durant has looked on the basketball court. Since the initial spat with Green, Golden State is 1-4. The Warriors are 2-5 over their last seven.
When Kerr and general manager Bob Myers decided to ultimately suspend Green, it wasn’t because they were trying to cozy up Durant and take his side on the matter. No, it’s due to the series of events over the last four years that have been made public. Heck, lord knows what’s gone on with the cameras off.
Obviously, though, Durant’s ego is bruised by what Green said, and it would seem to be impacting him on the court. Over the last four games, he’s shot just 39.1 percent from the field, and 5.9 percent from 3-point range.
After a 0-3 Texas road trip, news that Steph Curry will be re-evaluated for a groin injury November 24 as well as Green’s lingering toe injury, the Warriors are facing their lowest moment arguably since the 2016 NBA Finals, you know, when they blew a 3-1 lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr knows his team is in a funk.
“We’re banged up a little bit physically and right now we’re banged up spiritually,” Kerr said after watching his team get drubbed by the Houston Rockets. “There’s no getting around that. So we’ve got to fill up our cup and get our spirit back, get our energy back, and we’re going to. It’s a long, long season. It’s a tough stretch we’re dealing with, but I know our guys.”
Don’t be fooled: If Durant left the Warriors, they wouldn’t still be contenders. Without Durant, the Warriors don’t win the last two NBA titles. That’s not to slight Curry, Klay Thompson, or Green, but Durant’s ability to get any shot he wants at any time is something that was missing from the Warriors high-octane offense.
Bag on Charles Barkley if you want to, but he’s right: The Warriors dynasty would crumble without Durant. But don’t get it twisted — Durant needs the Warriors and the joy they play with, and they need him.
Boston, Toronto, Milwaukee, and the Houston Rockets on paper would give the Warriors a ton of fits if Durant wasn’t playing next to Curry. Without Durant, the Warriors aren’t the Warriors. The same can be said for Curry. That’s why bringing Durant to Camelot was the move the Warriors had to make. He completes the puzzle. He’s the perfect piece next to the other three All-Stars.
The organization knows that. Curry knows that. So does Thompson, and despite blowing a gasket last Monday night, Green knows that too. It’s probably why he pushed Durant’s buttons in the first place.
Hopefully, the Warriors can get back to dominating after the hellacious week that included the fourth three-game losing streak under Kerr. Once Curry and Green get back on the court, the Warriors should resemble the team that started 10-1, and not the one that has gone 2-5 since.