Not that long ago, the conventional wisdom surrounding the Golden State Warriors was that they were in trouble without Kevin Durant. It all seems so silly now that Stephen Curry has regained his unstoppable form and Steve Kerr’s team has breezed into its fifth consecutive NBA Finals. But there was real concern, even as Golden State held a 3-2 series lead over Houston.
Charles Barkley’s dire prediction was reflective of that worry. Here he is after Durant went down, forecasting that Golden State would lose in 7 to the Rockets or get bounced by the winner of Portland/Denver series.
No chance, of course, is strong phrasing. I’m not sure how many people shared the opinion that the defending champions’ goose was completely cooked.
Predicting the future is hard, perhaps even impossible. That’s how those neon buildings ended up in Las Vegas. So instead of poking fun at Sir Charles, perhaps it’s best to use his words as a springboard of consideration as to how quickly the Warriors have changed public perception.
In five games they’ve turned Durant into an afterthought. Some irresponsible people are even saying the team is better without him. They are not dominating but instead finding ways to grit out tough victories in crunch time. The winning mettle is overt and undeniable.
Barkley can be forgiven for not seeing it all play out like this. All of us can.
Don’t expect to see too many pundits putting nails in the Warriors’ coffin going forward — even if Milwaukee emerges as a Finals opponent.