Andre Iguodala, the 2015 NBA Finals MVP, reckons that the Oklahoma City Thunder was the best team of the 2016 NBA playoffs and deserved to win the championship.
Golden State Warriors stormed back from a 3-1 series deficit against Thunder in the Western Conference finals before losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. Ironically, Warriors suffered a taste of their own medicine as they failed to finish the Cavs despite going up 3-1 in the finals series.
“They (OKC Thunder) played us better than anyone. They played us better than Cleveland. Some of the stuff they was doing, it’s like … ‘Oh, man. We gotta play perfect’” Iguodala told New York-based radio station Power 105.1 on Wednesday.
Oklahoma City had a double-digit lead entering the fourth quarter of Game 6, at home, against the Warriors. They had the perfect opportunity to knock out Golden State and pursue their first championship since the franchise moved to Seattle in 2008.
Andre Iguodala welcomes Kevin Durant…
Many have criticized Kevin Durant for abandoning Oklahoma City and joining the rival Warriors. Iguodala, for one, is not complaining. “Now that we got KD, I can say it: They (OKC) were the best team last year in the league in the playoffs. They were better than us. They were better than Cleveland. They were the best team in the playoffs. They should’ve won a championship.”
Iguodala was part of the recruiting crew that met Durant in the Hamptons earlier this month. According to Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN.com, Iguodala and Durant forged a close friendship during the 2010 FIBA World Championship when Stephen Curry was also a part of Team USA.
Strauss revealed the pitch that Iguodala made to Durant. “The 2015 Finals MVP also offered a bit of time travel in his pitch to Durant. He explained how, when your career is finished, you want to reminisce with friends like these. He depicted a future where so much of the present NBA entanglements fade away and a career becomes a memory.
“When that happens, there’s meaning in having great memories. When that happens, there’s meaning in being able to revisit those memories with great people,” added Strauss, revealing the importance of the role played by Iguodala in bringing Durant to Golden State.
Now that the dust has settled, ‘teammates’ Andre Iguodala and Kevin Durant can reminisce over that great western conference finals series which Warriors escaped with a Game 7 win.