Thunder’s Markieff Morris takes an introspective look at what ails the Warriors
Markieff Morris of the Oklahoma City Thunder took a deep dive at analyzing what has made the Golden State Warriors look so different throughout this 2018-19 season. The reserve big man started with the acquisition and incorporation of DeMarcus Cousins, an overflow of riches that ultimately has proven to be another challenge for a championship-laden team.
“With an All-Star of (Cousins’) caliber at the five man spot, he’s not an Al Horford (type of) All-Star, he’s a (Joel) Embiid (type of) All-Star — a guy who needs the ball and who plays with the ball, rebounds, passes, shoots, and they have a lot of those guys,” Morris told Sam Amick of The Athletic. “Obviously they still have one of the best records in the league, but the invincibility part is not there anymore.
(There’s) not enough basketballs. There’s only one ball. No matter how you see it, it’s never going to be easy. If Steph (Curry) has got it going, Klay (Thompson) might take the backseat.”
In addition to that dynamic is the looming free-agent decision of Kevin Durant, an unwanted distraction that the Warriors have no option but to cope with throughout the course of the season, given his resistance to commit to staying or leaving the Bay Area after this season — an air of uncertainty his teammates breathe in every day.
“People are going to stir s**t up all the time, (but) it’s more the actions of the player. If the team feels it, and they think he’s giving off an I’m-going-to-leave-this-postseason vibe, then that’s what it is at the end of the day,” said Morris. “Teams are going to try to break teams up. For the three, four years where they were unbeatable, everybody was trying to find little things to fuck their team up, but I’m not sure about the vibe that he’s giving off there, you know what I mean? It doesn’t seem — from the outside looking in — that they’re as happy as they were (before). I mean, they’re winning, and winning cures everything, but it’s not.
“We’ve seen Draymond, what he said (to Durant in that Clippers game) and that’s past basketball, you know what I mean? That’s not basketball. That’s not something that goes on in a locker room. That’s deep down inside, when shit like that comes out.”
Golden State already has the overwhelming pressure of being expected to three-peat, but the Warriors have had to navigate all of these distractions throughout the season, all while taking every team’s best shot on a nightly basis.
Their tie for first place is no coincidence, but their mortal-esque record of 47-22 is a reflection that being as dominant as they once were is no easy task, much less to sustain it for a half-decade.