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Did Kevin Durant really ruin the NBA?

Sarthak Bahl
CONTRIBUTOR
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959   //    Timeless

Time and time again we hear these common phrases, "Durant ruined the NBA" or "KD is a snake" and whatnot for his decision to join the Golden State Warriors in 2016. Since then The Warriors have won back to back NBA Championships defeating LeBron James led Cavaliers with Durant winning Finals MVP both times.

Some fans now think that its no fun watching the NBA because no matter what happens in the regular season, The Warriors are going to win in the end. It is true though, its no fun playing or doing something if you know the end result.

People somehow seem to blame Durant for all of this because if he wouldn't have made this decision then all of this wouldn't have been happening right? WRONG! This is not the doing of just one man. What happened with Durant symbolizes the changing culture in the NBA.

Los Angeles Lakers Unveil Shaquille O'Neal Statue
Los Angeles Lakers Unveil Shaquille O'Neal Statue

If we start from the year 2000, there was a culture of Big 2 or dynamic duos in the NBA, be it Kobe-Shaq, Nash-Stoudemire or even Wade-Shaq, teams at most had two "star players". If you had just two of these so-called star players in your team, you were almost guaranteed a deep run in the playoffs.

This, however, began to change first with the Boston Celtics' modern Big 3 - Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Rajon Rondo but what finally cemented it was Lebron James' controversial move to the South Beach. The team of LeBron, Wade, and Bosh truly marked a new era in the NBA with the Big three starting to be the new trend.

Suddenly, two-star players were not enough. Seeing the success of Miami Heat and their Big 3, both players and the front offices started aspiring for their own Big 3s, as if that was the only formula to a championship. This led to some iconic trios, some put through trade and some through talent.

Miami Heat v Charlotte Bobcats - Game Four
Miami Heat v Charlotte Bobcats - Game Four

The year 2016 had a monumental role in displaying this culture and shaping the way for the future. We had the big 3 of the GSW - Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson square off against the Big 3 of the Cleveland Cavaliers - Kyrie Irving, LeBron James and Kevin Love in the NBA Finals, truly a great example of the BIG 3 philosophy which ruled the NBA. Both of these teams faced off in the NBA finals, which is where every player, coach, GM and owner wants to be. It was a true testimony to the era of the BIG 3.

However, it gave birth to a new era. With Kevin Durant's decision to join the Warriors, the era of the Big 4 started, but here is why it was worse than the shift from the Big 2 to Big 3 - instant results. Durant chose a team which had reached the finals, a player of his caliber, joining that Golden State Warriors almost guaranteed a championship win in theory and made it a reality by winning the next two season.

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This soaked the fun out of the viewers who thought there was no competition left in the NBA, agreed that the Houston Rockets came close, but what does it matter anyway.

So it wasn't something new that Durant did, he was a victim of the ongoing culture of the NBA. He was just applying what he had already seen happening since years. Its debatable whether it was the right decision for the NBA or not but we can now see why Durant made that decision and it surely paid off.

What's frightening now is that with Cousins' decision to join the Warriors we could see a BIG 5 out there when he gets healthy and that's not only scary but just adds to the disdain of the fans.

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers
Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers

The NBA has evolved from the then BIG 2 to the now BIG 5 era, with the Warriors having the first BIG 4 and now BIG 5 of the NBA, all the other teams are chasing just that. Almost all teams have two-star players so if not the BIG 5, they'll first try to make a BIG 3 and work their way to a possible step-up.

The NBA as a body and front offices of the teams don't mind this because of all the money that comes with it and the players don't mind taking a pay cut to chase a ring. Win-Win right?

Therefore, it is not due to just one person like KD, its due to numerous factors and people as to why it is supposedly plain boring and pointless for the fans to watch NBA now and why some of the fans are so angry.

So yeah, Kevin Durant didn't ruin the NBA. The ongoing cultural shifts that happen with time led this to happen.

Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz

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