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When all was said and done, it didn’t matter where Kevin Durant ended up in Stephen A. Smith’s eyes.
The ESPN analyst believes there aren’t any teams that can knock the Warriors off their championship pedestal — Durant or not.
During “First Take” on Tuesday morning, Smith emphatically reiterated his belief that Steph Curry and the rest of Golden State will run it back this upcoming season as the panel pondered which Durant landing spot could dethrone the Warriors.
The segment was taped shortly before the Brooklyn Nets announced Durant would remain on the team,
“Well, I think it would mean a trip to the Western Conference finals, and then they go home,” Smith said of the Memphis Grizzlies potentially acquiring Durant. “They ain’t beating the Golden State Warriors, let me be very, very clear about that … The point is this: They ain’t beating the Warriors. Nobody is beating the Warriors. The Golden State Warriors are going to repeat as NBA champions, back to back.”
Smith picked the Warriors to win the NBA Finals in 2021-22, and this isn’t the first time he has predicted them to win again in 2022-23. Just minutes after Golden State defeated the Boston Celtics for its fourth title in eight seasons back in June, Smith picked the team to repeat as champions.
In his passionate rant on Tuesday, he reminded viewers why he feels so strongly about the Warriors’ potential to go back to back.
“Steph Curry is going to capture title No. 5, so is Klay Thompson. It’s going to give them one more than LeBron [James], OK,” Smith said on “First Take.” “… They ain’t beating the crew. They’re not beating the snipers, the marksmen, that are the Golden State Warriors.”
Smith cited a back-in-business Thompson
There were two teams Durant could have landed with that would have given him “pause:” The Los Angeles Clippers, with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, or the Los Angeles Lakers with Anthony Davis and James.
But even a pause can’t make Smith’s faith in Golden State waver.