Led by Kevin Durant, the Golden State Warriors destroyed the Cleveland Cavaliers 4-1 in the NBA Finals to win their fifth championship. Durant was named the 2017 Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) for his phenomenal performances that helped his team beat LeBron James and Co quite handily.
In the process, Durant emerged as the most efficient scorer in NBA Finals history. He became the first player to ever average more than 30 points per game in the Finals on better than 50 percent shooting from both the field, 47 percent from the three-point line, and 90 percent shooting from the foul line.
This was the Warriors’ second crown in three years, and they were clashing against the Cavaliers for the third straight time in the seven-match deciding series. While Durant, Stephen Curry and veteran Andre Iguodala have all signed fresh contracts with the Golden State, Durant feels that the new season could see the end of the Warriors-Cavaliers dominance.
Speaking at a press conference in Noida, Durant said, “We are seeing some great teams out there. Houston got better, OKC got better; Boston and Clippers are teams that could be out there, San Antonio got better. Clippers, I think, are going to be the surprise team.”
The 6-foot-9 forward was in India to promote the sport and visited the NBA Academy in the National Capital Region, where he coached the country’s top prospects.
“Our league is in great hands with the players that we have, the teams that we have. There’s a lot of young talent coming through to the league. I am just excited for the season, I am excited to see who plays well, who’s the next emerging star, who’s the Rookie of the Year, who’s going to be the MVP,” Durant added.
It was just over a year ago that Durant made the controversial decision of joining the Warriors after spending nine seasons with Oklahoma City Thunder. His move was criticised by fans and pundits alike as it was seen as an easy way to win his first ring after having fallen short in the 2012 Finals against James’ Miami Heat.
Now in 2017, another high-profile player is reportedly set to make a similar power move. Kyrie Irving has requested a trade away from the Cleveland Cavaliers and as many as six teams have made offers for the 25-year-old.
When asked about the potential Irving move, Durant said he didn’t care much about the rumours but hoped that the point guard finds happiness "wherever that is."
"I really don't care about the Kyrie Irving situation," Durant said at the news conference. "I just want guys in the league to be happy wherever they are playing and have some fun playing with the ball.
"So, wherever that is, for Kyrie, I hope he finds that. But LeBron James is a phenomenal player. I got a chance to play on his team in the Olympics in 2012, and learned a lot from him."
The Warriors forward also weighed in on all the other trades and transactions in the off-season so far. He picked Nick Young’s one-year, $5.2 million deal with the Golden State Warriors as one of the moves of the off-season so far.
Durant had a creative way of welcoming Young to his team and posted a tweet with an image of Young’s most infamous attempt from beyond the arc, where he turned his back on his shot and celebrated as the ball bounced off the rim in ugly fashion.
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) July 5, 2017
“Yeah when we signed Swaggy P (as Young is “fondly” called), that was a big move for us. He’s gonna be a big piece for us, I’m excited about that.”
Durant also talked about Chris Paul’s move to Houston Rockets and Gordon Hayward reuniting with coach Brad Stevens after nearly a decade after he signed with the Boston Celtics.
“CP3 going to Houston was huge. Good for him. Can tell that he’s happy to be there, he’s gonna be playing with James and the rest of those guys.
“Gordon Hayward, I think is probably the biggest move because he was in Utah for so long and the connection that he had with Brad Stevens, you can tell it was pulling him a little bit so to do something like that, kind of you know I guess bringing back that old relationship with his coach is something that I don’t think that anybody can turn down. So I got a lot of respect for that decision and it was definitely a good move,” Durant said.
Durant further reiterated that this was one of the most exciting periods in the league’s history with a wealth of young talent competing in the 30 teams in the NBA.
“I just want to see the growth of the game, and the growth of the players. It’s impressive where the game is right now. I think we all have to sit back and see how big this thing grows. It’s just all because of the talent we have in our league. It’s the product that drives the whole thing. So, it’s going to be a fun season,” Durant concluded.
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Updated Date: Jul 29, 2017 21:37:28 IST