OAKLAND – As good NBA problems go, they don’t get much better than this.
The Golden State Warriors, by signing Kevin Durant last summer, created a new basketball landscape in which it seems unlikely that any of their superstars would be able to win the MVP award. The working theory in media circles is that their embarrassment of riches will inspire voters to look elsewhere for the award winner because, well, they’re just not playing fair.
If that turns out to be the case, the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard may wind up as America’s next president. Or … something like that.
Take it away, Warriors coach/resident comedian Steve Kerr.
“I think KD is kind of like (presidential candidate) Gary Johnson,” Kerr bemused. “You know, he’s like the third party guy. He’s going to come in and take a few votes from (back-to-back MVP) Steph (Curry), take a few from (the Cleveland Cavaliers’) LeBron (James). Steph might be Ralph Nader (who was a third party presidential spoiler in 2000), like he takes some votes from KD, takes some from LeBron. And then Damian Lillard wins the election, so that’s my forecast.”
Which begged the question: who is Donald Trump?
“Which one’s Trump?” Kerr replied with a smile. “I’m not answering that. Nobody on our team.”
Trail Blazers vs. Utah Jazz
At Moda Center, Portland
Time: 7 p.m.
Radio: 620 AM
No word yet on whether Durant knows how to find Aleppo or can name his favorite world leader.
Jokes aside, and knowing full well that this will be a fascinating situation to follow if they’re as dominant as so many expect, Kerr eventually answered the question – without the laugh track.
“It’s a good question,” he said. “Who knows? The good thing is I don’t think either guy minds that much. Everybody loves to be recognized, and it would be great if one of them won MVP, but I think the fact that they’re both here and wanted to be together tells you that’s not the primary goal.”
When Durant decided to leave Oklahoma City and sign with the Warriors in July, these were the kinds of questions that had already been answered among the players themselves. Curry, specifically, made it clear to Durant in their free agency meeting in the Hamptons that he would not be threatened by the prospect of having some of his spotlight stolen. His goal, from there forth, was to get their team back on top of the NBA’s mountaintop again.
“I don’t think like that,” Curry said of worrying about losing out on MVP because of Durant. “We’re playing to win. That’s a very cheesy answer, but that’s how I’ve gotten to this point, is not playing for those awards. You do it in the concept of winning, and that’s the result as well … We’re going to give everything we’ve got every night and try to lift each other up, make each other better, get all we can individually out of the season so that we can get as many wins as we can.
“I told him (in the free agency meeting that) if he were to be the won that wins it, I’d be cheering him on, and hope he’d do the same for me, as teammates. You want to be in a position where grand team accomplishments (overshadow) any of that stuff anyway.”
Added Warriors forward Draymond Green, one of five former All-Stars on their stacked roster: “I don’t think anyone on this team is going into this season saying, ‘Hey, I need to be the MVP.’ We’re going to try to win a championship. All the individual stuff, the individual accolades, that stuff comes with success.”