The NBA greatly missed Steph Curry and Kevin Durant ... just not necessarily on the same team.
At least that's what ESPN analyst and television personality Stephen A. Smith believes.
Smith posted a video clip on Twitter on Friday, a segment of his new television show, "Stephen A's World." In the video, Smith states the obvious -- it's great to have a healthy Curry and a healthy Durant back on the court.
But he also shares why it's better for basketball that the former teammates no longer share a locker room.
"It’s one thing to have these two former teammates, champion teammates, back playing, displaying their greatness," Smith says. "It’s another thing entirely to have them on two different teams.
"When Durant first arrived, the outcome was a foregone conclusion. A championship with Durant, and Steph and Klay Thompson, was the closest thing to an inevitability that we’d seen in the modern era. That entire year left us starving for parity."
Well, that wasn't exactly the case for Warriors fans.
When Durant signed with Golden State in 2016, it led to mass hysteria around the NBA and mass euphoria in the Bay Area. The Warriors became a lock as favorites to win the NBA title, and they did, twice. Headlined by Curry, Thompson, Durant and Draymond Green, the Warriors were nearly unstoppable, advancing to three straight NBA Finals and winning back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018.
Smith argues the dynasty took the fun out of basketball.
"Let’s face it," Smith said. "That ain’t fun."
Dubs Nation would tend to disagree.
While Durant's days with the Dubs are in the rearview mirror, there's no possibility in erasing the impact him and Curry have on the court. In their respective returns to the NBA, neither have shown any rust.
Durant, 32, missed the entirety of the 2019-20 season after rupturing his Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals. Curry, also 32, played just five games last year after breaking his left hand early in the season. Fast forward to nearly a month into the 2020-21 season, and both superstars are back to playing like well, superstars.
In his first 12 games of the season, Durant, a 10-time NBA All-Star, is averaging a whopping 31.3 points per game for the Brooklyn Nets. Curry, a six-time NBA All-Star, isn't that far behind him, averaging 28.2 points through his first 15 games, including a monstrous 62-point performance against the Portland Trail Blazers earlier in the month.
The return of two of the NBA's biggest stars is obviously great for the game, and Smith hopes it's a caveat fans can enjoy for years to come.
"The great part about witnessing the greatness of Durant and Curry isn’t just that they’re so great right now," he says. "It’s that it doesn’t look as if they’ll fade any time in the near future."
He's right about one thing -- both Curry and Durant look poised to contend for even more success. It just won't be with the same team. Whether that's good, bad or neutral for basketball remains to be seen.