As the Golden State Warriors regained the NBA title, Kevin Durant delivered on his promise in more ways than one. Durant scored 30-plus points in each of the five games as the Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers. He became only the sixth player in history to score 30-plus in ever Finals game in a single series along with Elgin Baylor (1962), Rick Barry (1967), Michael Jordan (1993), Hakeem Olajuwon (1995) and Shaquille O’Neal (2000, 2002).
But the other part of Durant’s promise is the promise of all superstars — that they will make the team better. That was the only basketball qualm heard — besides sour grapes — when Durant moved to Golden State. Sure, Durant is a better player than anybody he was replacing (no knock on Harrison Barnes) but would the Warriors karma and chemistry continue with so many superstars? Sometimes the best intentions — and best talent — don’t meld into easy success. But Durant, being a team player as well as a scoring machine, made the Warriors better from day one. Consider this: Warriors guard and two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry averaged 26.8 points, 9.4 assists and 8 boards during the Finals. Those are MVP level stats almost every year. Anyone worried about whether there was enough to go around at Oracle for Curry, KD and the rest found out there was plenty. Now the rest of the NBA has to find new answers.