By Alex Ramos Editor-In-Chief
Illustration by Allison Meyer Multimedia Assistant
“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”
This is a pretty straight forward saying with a simple meaning. No matter how much you plan and prepare, things can still go wrong. As it stands, that’s what everyone in the NBA is hoping for with the Golden State Warriors.
Let’s take a moment to recap. After weeks of speculation, fans and pundits finally got an answer to the burning question, “Where is Kevin Durant going to sign?” Many figured he would resign with the Oklahoma City Thunder, his original team.
The Thunder appeared to be the Warriors’ only kryptonite out West after pushing the defending champions to a seven game series.
It only made sense for Durant to return and complete this new challenge with the only franchise he had ever played for.
And then it didn’t make sense. On July 4, Kevin Durant announced that he would be leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder to sign with the Golden State Warriors, the team that had just knocked him out of the playoffs.
It goes without saying that this wasn’t a very popular move. Fans turned on Durant for breaking a sort of unspoken code about signing with a championship contender.
Critics bashed the Golden State Warriors for signing a top 5 player and creating a superteam, despite having: the best shooter in the league, Klay Thompson; the most versatile player, Draymond Green; and the most valuable player (for two seasons in a row), Stephen Curry.
Overall, the masses were upset with both parties for coming together in an unholy union to bring about the end of times to the basketball landscape.
This is all ancient history by now. Everyone is just waiting for the Warriors to decimate the competition and leave behind a trail of pain and despair. The thing is this outcome isn’t necessarily guaranteed.
Remember when the Celtics lost all of their steam after Kevin Garnett got injured in 2009? When the Lakers assembled their own superteam, not once but twice (2004, 2013), and failed to produce championships?
Remember when the up-and-coming Golden State Warriors broke out and basically stole a ring from Lebron James and the super Cavaliers with a young Kyrie Irving and a highly efficient Kevin Love just two years ago?
My point is that there have been all these instances where teams that were predicted to overwhelmingly come out on top, didn’t, for one reason or another.
The Warriors are no exception because they’re men, just like the rest of the players in the NBA. No matter what, they are susceptible to injuries and ego trips and bad luck.
Just last week, ESPN published an article that detailed Draymond Green’s controversial antics on and off the court. It tied together all of the incidents Green was involved in — starting from the beginning of the playoffs through the summer up until the beginning of the preseason — into a cohesive narrative that painted the picture of passionate player and equally problematic person off the court.
While head coach Steve Kerr and several of the players have been downplaying the impact of the article, it’s still telling that a team that portrays itself as one big happy family has this kind of issue in the locker room.
Let’s also not forget that the two of the best offensive players on the team are prone to injuries. Stephen Curry spent the second half of the 2011-2012 season on the bench due to ankle injuries and, while not related, dealt with several leg injuries throughout last season’s playoff run, including a sprained MCL.
And while Kevin Durant was successful last season, he is only a year removed from a severe foot injury that plagued him during the 2014-2015 season.
Doubts continue to linger about this particular injury since foot ailments are more difficult to maintain than other injuries. Although signs point to both players being healthy, the threat of injury remains, especially if they’re aiming to make a championship run.
There are numerous other factors that could derail the Warriors, no matter how unlikely they may seem to affect them.
The team has three of the best shooters in the league, but there might not be enough spacing to keep defenses from correctly guessing on perimeter shots. Steve Kerr is back to coaching full time and seems to be bringing down his fist on shenanigans (the same way he did when he shattered a clipboard in rage during the playoffs).
Strong team chemistry has not been established, a little detail that most superteams overlooked before they ended up failing in critical moments.
This season’s Warriors are certainly poised to have another dominant season and make another run at the championship. The season is long, though, and anything could happen. After all, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.