Rudy Gay

Rudy Gay, Rodney Hood, other NBA players revel in Warriors' dynasty ending

Rudy Gay, Rodney Hood, other NBA players revel in Warriors' dynasty ending

The Warriors' dynastic five-year run appears to have reached its culmination, and NBA players across the league couldn’t be happier.

Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher published a column Friday that included quotes from a multitude of competitors, all of which exemplify the jealousy and desire to avenge the five years of dominance forced upon the league by Golden State.

"Adding KD made it the cheat code," one unnamed Pacific Division player told Bucher. "We respect the Warriors and their previous accomplishments, but when they added KD, no one looked at them the same. Even KD knew it was unfair.

"I never saw him celebrate the same way. It added to those other guys' legacy more than his."

Other players, including San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay, don’t feel any sympathy for Draymond Green, who stands as the lone roster holdover from the Warriors’ championship run until Steph Curry and Klay Thompson return from injury.

"You think anybody in the league has any empathy for Draymond Green?" Gay says. "No, hell no. He's a good dude and everything, but everybody has their time and everybody has their day, and it's time for another team to step up. They took full advantage of their time at the top. And not just them—the fans, too. This is the real NBA, man. You don't have some of the best players in the league. You still have some great players, but those wins aren't going to come as easy no more."

Portland Trail Blazers forward Rodney Hood echoed Gay's sentiments.

"He definitely is not going to be out there by himself," Hood told Bucher. "I don't think he could take that. Not for a whole year."

Hood’s comments are interesting, considering his Blazers at full strength were just defeated soundly by the star-less Warriors in Golden State’s first regular-season win at Chase Center on Nov. 4.

"Obviously, they were good before KD, but once they got him, they took it to another level," Hood continued. "But I know for a fact—particularly Draymond, who I have the utmost respect for—when they were on top, they let everybody know they were on top, and you felt their presence. But everything comes to an end at some point. Guys were looking forward to getting at them without that 7-foot monster [Durant], so now everybody feels it's an even playing field. Everybody is excited about that."

Well, Hood’s definition of “getting at them” is a 1-for-8 night shooting in 36 minutes in the Blazers' loss to the Dubs on Monday. Not a great start for that "revenge tour."

Hood, in particular, had a rough go of it against the Warriors over the past few years, as he was swept out of the postseason in three straight seasons, on three different teams, by Golden State. Hood was with the Utah Jazz in 2016-17, Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017-18 and Trail Blazers in 2018-19, losing in the Western Conference semifinals, the NBA Finals and the Western Conference finals, respectively.

[RELATED: Ask Kerith: Paschall's sudden rise, Chase Center atmosphere]

Players now can bask in the balance restored to the league by the Warriors' fall from grace, but it’s likely that few will experience the joy playing basketball that those Steve Kerr-coached teams had from 2015-2019.

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Warriors vs. the West: How Dubs match up against Spurs in 2019-20

Warriors vs. the West: How Dubs match up against Spurs in 2019-20

For the first time in five seasons, the Warriors find themselves in new territory entering the 2019-20 season. With Kevin Durant gone to the Brooklyn Nets, Klay Thompson rehabbing his surgically repaired left ACL and eight new players on the roster, the Warriors are not the preseason NBA title favorites. 

As the Warriors reconcile a new reality, the rest of the Western Conference has retooled with superstar talent. Over the next seven days, NBC Sports Bay Area will examine teams that are expected to challenge Golden State's Western Conference throne.

First up: The San Antonio Spurs. 

Offseason transactions

In an offseason dominated by superstar player movement, the Spurs biggest summer splash was the re-signing of forward Rudy Gay, who agreed to a two-year, $32 million contract. Gay averaged 13.7 points in one of the most efficient series of his career. 

Joining Gay in San Antonio was DeMarre Carroll, who was acquired in a sign-and-trade with Brooklyn and agreeed to a three-year, $20.65 million contract. 

Spurs rounded out the roster signing big man Trey Lyles and drafting Luka Šamanić, Keldon Johnson, Quinndary Weatherspoon. But perhaps the biggest addition will be the return of point guard DeJounte Murray, who missed last season with a torn ACL. 

Strengths

The biggest strength the Spurs have maintained since Tim Duncan's retirement is coach Gregg Popovich. Despite the departure of Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio won 48 games behind the core of DeMar DeRozen and LaMarcus Aldridge. While DeRozen shot a career-high 48 percent from the field, Aldridge had one of most efficient seasons of his career, averaging 21 points and nine rebounds on 51.9 percent.

With the duo's effectiveness, the Spurs were among the best shooting teams in the league last season, making 47 percent of their shots, second only to the Warriors. 

Under Popovich's leadership, the Spurs have made the playoffs the last 22 seasons, a streak that should continue with the current roster.

Weaknesses

The Spurs were one of the worst defensive teams in the league, posting a 110.5 defensive rating -- 11th worst in the league. 

Part of the slump could be attributed to the absence of Murray, the team's best perimeter defender, and Leonard's departure to Toronto. However, with the additions of Carroll and Murray, the unit should improve.  

How the Warriors match up

With eight new players on the roster, the Warriors have very little idea of how cohesive the team will be by their first matchup against the Spurs on Nov. 1 in San Francisco. Worse - with Andre Iguodala traded to Memphis and Thompson out - the Warriors will be without two of last year's top perimeter defenders.

[RELATED: What Steph thinks of Chase Center]

Compounding their wing defensive woes, Willie Cauley Stein is the only true center on on the Warriors roster, meaning Golden State could struggle against Aldridge in the frontcourt.

Until the Warriors find a defensive identity, the Spurs could be a problem this season.

Examining long road Kevin Durant faces in recovery from Achilles injury

Examining long road Kevin Durant faces in recovery from Achilles injury

Kevin Durant revealed he had surgery on his ruptured Achilles tendon Wednesday.

Now comes the hard part.

Durant faces a long road back in his recovery. Just how long is hard to say right now, but by looking back at the recovery times of other players with similar injuries, we can get a better idea of when he might next be able to play in an NBA game.

Sportsnet's Faizal Khamisa has done just that, compiling a list of prominent NBA stars that have torn their Achilles tendons and their respective recovery periods.

As you can see, there's a reason why an Achilles injury is considered to be one of the worst an NBA player can suffer. Of those five players on the list, the average recovery time was 280.6 days.

Durant's recovery clock started Wednesday. That average recovery period would have him returning to game action on March 19, 2020. For reference, the Warriors played the final 12 games of their 2018-19 regular-season schedule after March 19 this year.

So, yes, it's possible Durant could play in an NBA game next regular season. But, as we know, no two bodies are the same, and recovery times vary from individual to individual. Typically, the track record for players returning from Achilles injury has been better for smaller types, and less so for big men. 

Durant's current teammate, DeMarcus Cousins, ruptured his Achilles in January of 2018. Not only was his recovery the longest of the five players Khamisa listed, but he also clearly hasn't fully regained the form he had before the injury.

[RELATED: Kawhi offers KD advice over long Achilles rehab process]

Whether or not Durant is able to do so is up in the air, and will be for some time. We have no idea how his body will respond, nor do we know which team and doctors will be assisting in his recovery. His impending free agency looms over all of this.

The Warriors are certainly hoping to retain him, but more importantly, they just want to see him back on an NBA court in the not too distant future.