For J.R. Smith, the addition of Kevin Durant to the side of the Golden State Warriors undeniably distorted the balance of power in the NBA.
In an interview with HoopsHype’s Mike Scotto, Smith admitted that the arrival of Durant to the Warriors basically gave a hopeless notion for teams to compete for a title.
“I think the whole league did. People thought it was going to be bad when CP (Chris Paul) went to the Lakers with Kobe (Bryant) and Pau (Gasol). When that happened, everybody was pretty much playing for second. Don’t get me wrong, in the heat of the battle, we’re thinking, we have a chance, and we can win, but at the same time, it’s like, ‘What the hell are we supposed to do?’ You’ve got three Hall of Famers, legit. What are you going to do?”
Durant, inking a deal with Golden State that went for a historic 73-win regular season record, still stands as one of the most controversial moves ever in all of the sports. The superstar forward drew widespread flak and became an antagonist since then in the entire association.
By having Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and a loaded bench led by Andre Iguodala, the Dubs easily stormed the NBA with their deadly offensive options and versatility. After falling down miserably against Smith, LeBron James, and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 Finals, they proceeded to dominate them for the next two years in the championship round.
Though James and the Cavs were clearly outmatched, James Harden and the mighty Houston Rockets still boldly presented their challenge against the overpowered club. They nearly took down the Warriors in their epic 2018 Western Conference Finals in seven games but came up short in the most bizarre way possible.
Amid the towering margin posted by Durant and the Warriors for the rest of the association that time, Smith and the Cavs certainly deserve their flowers for braving through adversity against, in perhaps, the greatest team ever assembled in NBA history.