For the first time in NBA history, the NBA Finals will feature the same matchup for three straight years.
Among those responsible: Kevin Durant, who sunk the title-contending Thunder and gave the Warriors an even stronger grip on the Western Conference.
But don’t blame him for a lack of parity league-wide.
Durant, via Sam Amick of USA Today:
“Like I’m the reason why (expletive) Orlando couldn’t make the playoffs for five, six years in a row?” he said. “Am I the reason that Brooklyn gave all their picks to Boston? Like, am I the reason that they’re not that good (laughs). I can’t play for every team, so the truth of the matter is I left one team. It’s one more team that you probably would’ve thought would’ve been a contender. One more team. I couldn’t have made the (entire) East better. I couldn’t have made everybody (else) in the West better.”
Some teams will always be better than others. The Magic, Nets and more were mis-managed before Durant left Oklahoma City.
But I’m not even sure this is the right debate.
Does the NBA even have a parity problem to blame on Durant?
Cleveland and Golden State aren’t traditional powers. Before 2015, the Warriors hadn’t won a title since 1975 and the Cavaliers had never won one. Their ascension is proof of parity – that sound management and a little luck can lift teams from the basement.