NBA Betting – Is Durant-Green Skirmish the Beginning of the End?
Hey, do you remember that time Hall of Famer Sam Jones walked into Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach’s office and asked to be traded? You know, the time he wanted to go somewhere else and be “the man”? Do you remember Bill Bradley – Rhodes Scholar and college hoops legend ? Remember when he went to Red Holzman during the New York Knicks’ first championship season and told him he wanted more “touches”?
You don’t remember that?
Yeah, I know you don’t. That’s because it never happened.
The NBA used to be a little different.
There’s been more of a “me first” atmosphere pervading through the landscape as the NBA betting has evolved. Players can get coaches fired these days. It happens over things like playing time (keep an eye on the Sacramento situation) or offensive schemes (ask Magic Johnson about that). And it seems there’s a lot more consciousness about “numbers” now than there ever has before. A lot of kids don’t want to hear that, because they don’t really have any perspective. They simply have nothing to measure this against. And they’re like the media, celebrating the self-absorption as if they were playing some big, huge fantasy game.
Rick Barry – who himself has taken a rap in the past for being less than a team player – expressed something I found especially insightful in a recent interview. He said that the difference between Oscar Robertson averaging a triple-double and Russell Westbrook doing the same is that Westbrook went out every night TRYING to get a triple-double. And that’s an important thing to remember.
The reason I say all this is that the Golden State Warriors (favorites to win the NBA title at BetAnySports at -160) have done a pretty good job cutting through this with a different kind of “culture,” one that has resulted in championship. It appeared to be something inherent; sort of like what you’ve noticed over the years with the New England Patriots.
But recent developments have us wondering whether the REAL culture of the NBA is going to win out, sooner or later.
This quest on the part of a lot of teams to have a “Big Three” is kind of artificial in a way. And no, that concept wasn’t invented by the Boston Celtics of the Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce-Ray Allen period. Or the Miami Heat team that followed. For example, the Los Angeles Lakers in the late 1960s had Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, and there is little doubt that they were three of the top ten players in NBA history up to that time. And no one’s ego was bigger than Wilt’s. Yes, they did lose out to the Knicks in the finals (1969-70). However, it was not necessarily because they didn’t have chemistry, but because the Knicks’ chemistry was better.
You didn’t see free agency then. But now there is enough player mobility that it puts a whole different spin on things. Kevin Durant is an example of this. His move from the Thunder to the Warriors was undertaken specifically for the purpose of getting himself a championship ring. But you know that he was piggybacking onto something that had already been established.
In Oklahoma City he was with Westbrook and James Harden. All of them have won an MVP award, but the best they could do for themselves together was one trip to the NBA Finals. Then Harden wanted to go somewhere and be “the man,” while Westbrook, regardless of what he says, was all too happy for the opportunity to run up bloated numbers once Durant took off. This kind of thing should have given you a clue as to why they hadn’t reached the pinnacle. There just weren’t enough basketballs to go around.
On the basis of what they’ve done on the court, there isn’t anything to suggest that Durant and Green haven’t been team guys. But as some BetAnySports customers know, that isn’t what tears teams apart. More often that not, it’s the battle of personalities and the discussion about contracts that have great potential to divide. And that came into sharp focus during a game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Durant objected to the way Green handled a fast break opportunity, looking to complete the play himself rather than pass it to him. The result was a turnover, and ultimately a defeat, and then there was a shouting match over in the bench area, which spilled into the locker room.
Green reportedly called Durant a “bitch” over and over, and allegedly the nature of Durant’s contract was brought up. You see, the way KD has structured his deals with the Warriors, it is essentially a one-year contract with a player option for one more. In other words, he can shop himself every season as a free agent if he wishes to.
That’s a tremendous arrangement for the player, but when the right (or wrong, as it were) circumstances arise, you’ll see it used as an catalyst for discord. And so after the incident, one player who asked to be anonymous, was quoted in the popular website “The Athletic” as saying that “With what was said, there is already no way Durant is coming back.” Apparently there is a video clip where Durant is muttering to himself, “That’s why I’m out.”
The team suspended Green one game for his actions, and that was clearly an optional disciplinary action on their part. It’s not as if he wasn’t wrong in the name-calling. But this was viewed by some players as a show of support for Durant – who they definitely want to keep – over Green. Principal owner Joe Lacob was conscious of this train of thought, so he issued a statement that the organization isn’t siding with one guy over the other.
That just creates more headlines. And the headaches that follow.
It is true, at least if you listen to the departed David West, that there was a lot of internal bickering last year. Yet Golden State still rolled to a championship. So we know it’s possible. Of course, the mention of “internal bickering” might surprise you, if you thought this was the ultimate bastion of unselfishness and serenity. But let’s face it – when a guy’s impending free agency is a topic of conversation every year, it’s going to be annoying for teammates who constantly have to hear about it.
And just think – we haven’t even seen any minutes from notorious coach-killer and clubhouse “sweetheart” DeMarcus Cousins yet.
Maybe this is the beginning of the end for the Warriors’ dynasty (note: oft-beaten term) after all. But just remember – this is the NBA, and the NBA “culture” will win out in the end.
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