If you could use an analogy to describe the superficial analog between the Warriors signing of Kevin Durant and the Miami Heat acquiring the services of LeBron James six years ago, it would be the film strategy for rolling out DC’s Justice League vs. Marvel’s Avengers. Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and James were crammed together almost all at once. The Warriors slowly assembled and evolved over the course of a half decade.

Similar to how Peter Parker was introduced in Marvel’s third Captain America movie, Durant is the focal point of Golden State’s phase 3. In December of 2014, North Korea’s hacking of entertainment conglomerate SONY was creating a mushroom cloud throughout the film industry. Approximately 100 stolen terabytes of private data and embarrassing emails from SONY Pictures were periodically leaked across the web.

The fallout led to the ousting or resignation of key members of SONY Picture’s executive board, most notably studio brain Amy Pascal, resulted in the delayed theatrical release of their derisive comedy The Interview and most egregiously, the release of confidential employee information.

The one bright spot from this ordeal emerged two years later when an unexpected Marvel stalwart joined the bloated cast of Marvel’s Avengers cinematic universe in Captain America: Civil War.

Although, hacked emails show that SONY was discussing a deal with Marvel to share Spiderman’s film rights, it wasn’t until those discussions went public and whet the public appetite that SONY finally relented. If it weren’t for the email hack, Spiderman may not have joined The Avenger’s franchise. The Spiderman film brand was struggling after The Amazing Spiderman sequel floundered and the Broadway musical cratered, but the hack is what helped push SONY over the edge.

Likewise, the Golden State Warriors may not have scored the biggest non-LeBron free agent acquisition in modern NBA history without their own collapse against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Games 5, 6 and 7.

Instead, they were able to march into the Hamptons and massage  Durant’s ego by depicting him as the Sherpa for Golden State’s vengeance tour.

The Warriors are no longer the little pace-and-space rocket that could, as they were in the 2015 playoffs or the tachyon-charged death lineup of 2016, which was ahead of its time. They’ve soared past sci-fi territory into the fantasy genre.

By incorporating a four-time scoring champ into the fold, they’re the NBA equivalent of a shared Marvel cinematic universe.

After serving as the leader in a smaller solo project from Oklahoma City the Warriors pulled off the equivalent of adding Spiderman to a roster that included a virtuous Captain America-type figure (Steph Curry), a loquacious iron man, who played in all but one game last season (Draymond Green, who missed Game 5 after accumulating six flagrants), a sharpshooting guard who misses less often under duress than Clint Barton (Klay Thompson) and even the man whose Vision gave this team structure it needed (Steve Kerr).

And much like Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury, the early front man of this group has seen his influence shrink in recent years (Mark Jackson).

In the basketball sense however, Andre Iguodala is the spider-man who wraps up opposing players in his defensive web and Durant is the god of Thunder descending from a higher plane(with slightly smaller biceps than Thor).

For the rest of the NBA, they’re world-beaters with an awesome foursome of talent we haven’t seen since the pre-salary cap 80s heydays of the Bird-McHale-DJ-Parish Celtics or the Magic-Kareem-Worthy-Byron Scott/Norm Nixon Lakers. Cleveland and San Antonio have tried to match their arsenals in the cold war, but the Warriors look like Team USA B-team. Kerr’s greatest challenge will be to quickly integrate Durant quick enough that they can challenge 73 wins.

Due to more stringent luxury tax penalties, which promoted parity among smaller market teams, this wasn’t supposed to be possible anymore. Thankfully, Durant’s free agency coincided with the influx of basketball-related income from new television deals with ESPN and Turner that infused the salary cap with Steve Rogers-esque HGH shots over the next two years.

The market hasn’t quite adjusted, meaning that Curry and Thompson are still playing on relatively moderately-sized max contracts they signed as unrestricted free agents. Consequentially, the Warriors actions have resulted in them being retconned into villainy. Even Ayesha Curry has reached her saturation point in some corners.

However, the idea that this the Warriors as a superteam being a bad thing for the league is preposterous. Throughout the Warriors’ 73-win season, nostalgic fans couldn’t help but drudge up positive memories about the Showtime Lakers, 87 Celtics, Auerbach’s Celtics, Jordan’s Bulls and the Wilt-West-Baylor Lakers. Nobody gets too hyped up about the glory days of parity in the 1970s.

Superstar-driven teams keep the NBA spinning on its axis.

Unfortunately, the Durant acquisition meant purging their roster of Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut. Bogut and his 2016 salary were sent to Dallas. Barnes was lured there as an unrestricted free agent. In addition, to the signing of Seth Curry, Wes Matthews and future HOF stretch-4 Dirk Nowitzki in his twilight, Dallas looks like the Golden State B-Team.

Conversely, the Warriors will account for Bogut’s hole in the paint by signing Zaza Pachulia. Underneath the boards, Zaza is a vacuum, although he will surrender some ground from the interior than Bogut.

The bench has lost its unique composition, but they’ll be able to uniquely stagger their lineups by using Durant, Curry and/or Klay as offensive spark plugs with the second unit.


While Marvel’s Civil War seamlessly integrated SONY’s pimply-faced Peter Parker property into the mix without resorting to another hackneyed origin story, DC wasn’t as adept with Batman and Superman’s Dawn of Justice.

The ’04 and especially the ’13 Lakers should serve as cautionary tales for the Golden Age Warriors.

A dozen years ago, the winners of three of the previous four NBA titles imported two artifacts of NBA lore, Gary Payton and Karl Malone, into the purple and gold’s House of Zen. Unfortunately, they also arrived while Kobe Bryant faced sexual assault charges and during the height of his beef with Shaq. They were felled by a cohesive Detroit Pistons, which swiftly cut through them like a battle axe. The next summer Shaq was traded, Payton peaced out and Malone retired after making an ill-fated pass at Kobe’s wife.

The ’13 Lakers were too old for Mike D’Antoni’s frenetic offensive pace. The season began with Dwight Howard rehabbing his back and ended with Kobe’s Achilles shredded, Nash’s back forcing him into pseudo-retirement and Gasol drifting away from the low post.

This team is a better mix of styles and youth than either of those Laker squads, which merged past their prime stars, or the Heatles, who all played the same role. The Boston Celtics only eked out a single title with a triumvirate (plus a young Rajon Rondo) that played tenacious defense and played off each other well, but lacked the type of transcendent talents Golden State has in Steph Curry and Durant.

However, even if Golden State does hoist the 2017 Larry O’Brien Trophy, there will still be critics if the Warriors don’t win 74 games.

Not 71, 72 or 73. 74! A neat 90 percent winning percentage is the only thing that can dismiss the nasty taste of their analog to New England’s 18-1 season.

If Durant thought there was pressure on him in Oklahoma City, he hasn’t seen anything yet. He’s not only got to win 74 games here are a slew of other records, mostly on offense, which must fall next season for the Warriors to silence their haters.

126.5 – The Denver Nuggets 81-82 average for most points per game in a single season

115.6 – The 86-87 Lakers single season offensive efficiency record

31.4 – The 84 – 85 Lakers single season assists per game record. The Warriors are one of the most charitable teams in NBA history. Last season, they racked up 28.9 assists a night.

3,320,847 – that’s how many times the first photo of Lil B and Durant has to be retweeted to break Ellen Degeneres’ Oscars selfie record as it stands today.

Ultimately, there’s a middle ground. TThe chances of the Warriors surpassing last season’s regular season accomplishments are slimmer than Durant’s waistline, but it makes no difference. The next few years will be defined by the billions of fans cheering for them to sweep through for league or those watching and waiting for them to fail. The league will flourish in either scenario.