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.
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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