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Kevin Durant explained why he was 'glad' the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals

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The NBA regular season begins in just two weeks, and yet every time Kevin Durant appears in a Golden State Warriors jersey it still feels like a surreal bit of Photoshop wishful thinking.

Based on what we've seen in preseason, Durant and the Warriors look like a preternaturally good fit. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Durant can all attack the basket, handle the ball, distribute, and, of course, hit the three. Guarding this unit well for four quarters will be next to impossible.

We said that about the Warriors last year, too, and yet the Cavs managed to solve them when it mattered most.

Have you heard that the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead?

On Monday, Durant spoke with the media and revealed that, in a certain way, he felt "glad" that the Warriors lost in the NBA Finals to Cleveland. As he watched them play in the Finals, he explained, he began to understand how much fun he knew he would have playing with them.

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Top 10 NBA players under the age of 25 (The Cheat Sheet)
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Top 10 NBA players under the age of 25 (The Cheat Sheet)

1. D'Angelo Russell

Age: 20

Taken with the second pick of the 2015 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, D’Angelo Russell had a nice rookie season. The left-handed shooting point guard is more of a scorer than a distributor, which makes him a modern fit for the point guard position in the mold of Damian Lillard or Stephen Curry, for example. At just 19 years old and playing for a team that just featured Kobe Bryant’s final NBA season, Russell started 48 games and averaged 13.2 points on 41% shooting in 28.2 minutes per game last season.

Now 20 years old and without the shadow of Bryant, Russell and his young counterparts will take the reins for one of the most iconic basketball franchises in the world. The Los Angeles Lakers front office signed several veterans, such as Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov. The franchise also brought in former Laker and Golden State Warriors assistant coach, Luke Walton, to be the team’s head coach. With all these great things in his future, Russell is set up for success.

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

2. Jabari Parker

Age: 21

The second overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, just the year before Russell, Jabari Parker signed on with the Milwaukee Bucks. He started in his first 25 games as a pro, averaging 29.5 minutes with a 12.3 point-per-game average on 49% shooting from the floor. An ACL tear ended Parker’s rookie year prematurely, but he returned to the court the next season. He got into 76 games, averaging 14.1 points in 31.7 minutes per game in his second NBA season.

But Parker is tremendously talented, and the fact that he spent his first offseason as an NBA player rehabbing an injury took away from the time he could’ve spent working on his game and becoming a better player. Look for more from Parker, now 21 years old, in the upcoming season. If he’s improved his outside shooting, ball-handling, and defense, he could be a rising star in Milwaukee.

(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

3. Kristaps Porzingis

Age: 21

Kristaps Porzingis is an extremely unique player with a ton of talent. A power forward who’s thin but stands tall at 7-foot-3, he reminds us of an even taller Toni Kukoč with his outside shooting and ball-handling skills. You could even argue that Porzingis is more athletic than Kukoč, as he entered the NBA at the age of 20 while still developing his skills and frame. Kukoč, on the other hand, didn’t make it to the league until he was 25 years old.

Fans were not happy with the New York Knicks for taking Porzingis — considered to be a major project — with the fourth overall pick in last year’s draft. But to the shock of many, the young man performed remarkably well as he worked to translate his game to the NBA’s style of play. Porzingis averaged 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks in 28.4 minutes per game in his first year in the NBA last season.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

4. Giannis Antetokounmpo

Age: 21

Giannis Antetokounmpo may have one of the most difficult names to spell in the NBA, but he’s quickly becoming a household name. “The Greek Freak,” as many fans know him, is an interesting combination of skills. Antetokounmpo is 6-foot-11, but he plays three positions: point guard, shooting guard, and small forward. It’s not what you expect from a guy his size. At 21 years old and in his third NBA last year, he averaged 16.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.4 blocks in 35.3 minutes per game.

Antetokounmpo is on the last year of his rookie contract with the Milwaukee Bucks, but he’ll only be a restricted free agent following the season; meaning that Milwaukee can match any contract another team may offer him. This means that Antetokounmpo will be a very wealthy man should he continue on his athletic path. Not too bad for a guy who fell all the way to No. 15 in the 2013 NBA Draft.

(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

5. Andrew Wiggins

Age: 21

Andrew Wiggins’ career trajectory was heavily altered the day LeBron James announced he was returning to his home in Cleveland. The Cavaliers took Wiggins with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, but he now saw himself — as a 19-year-old — on a roster full of NBA players looking to win a championship. The Cavaliers traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for forward Kevin Love.

Since then, it’s been somewhat slow going for 21-year-old Wiggins as he’s developed in Minnesota. He has defensive head coach Tom Thibodeau on the sidelines now, and there’s no doubting Wiggins’ talent, so there’s a good chance he takes a massive leap forward this season. So far in his two years as a pro, Wiggins has averaged 18.8 points on 44.9% shooting in 35.7 minutes per game.

(Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

6. Ben Simmons

Age: 20

We don’t know a lot about Ben Simmons yet, but what we do know is positive. Taken in this summer’s draft first overall by the Philadelphia 76ers, Simmons has a chance to be a real hero on a team that’s been rebuilding for as long as most fans can remember. As a freshman at LSU last season, the 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 4.8 assists on 56% shooting from the field.

All rookies go through an adjustment period, so the expectation that Simmons will be an immediate superstar is a bit lofty. Regardless, the kid has a ton of talent, and he’ll be surrounded by plenty of other great, young NBA players. Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, and Jahlil Okafor are all extremely talented big men who are currently on the 76ers roster as well.

(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

10. Anthony Davis

Age: 23

Still just 23 years old heading into the 2016–17 season, Anthony Davis seems to have been around forever. This will be his fifth year in the league, and he’s already made three All-Star teams, raised his scoring and rebounding output each year, and become one of the best defensive players in the game. Davis will eventually be a Defensive Player of the Year. In fact, he probably should have won the award already, but he may have been overlooked because of his youth.

Known to many fans as “The Brow,” Davis averaged 24.3 points and 10.3 rebounds to go along with two blocks per game last year, becoming a more complete threat on the offensive side of the court by expanding his game out to three-point range. After hitting just 1-for-27 on threes going into the year, Davis was 35-for-108 last year — a somewhat below average 32.4%, but still good enough to draw the defender away from the basket. Davis is one of the truly special, young NBA players and a superstar for the next decade.

(Photo by Tyler Kaufman/NBAE via Getty Images

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From Durant (according to Anthony Slater of the San Jose Mercury News):

"I was telling one of my friends, (my agent) Rich (Kleiman), who's here, we were watching Game 7. Well, as it started to unfold, it was, 'No question, no way could you go to this team.' And I was just like a kid, like, I'd really like playing with these guys. I'd get wide open 3s, I could just run up and down the court, get wide open layups. I was basically begging him. I was like, yo, this would be nice."

And then, once the Warriors actually lost Game 7, Durant said he started to realize that joining them might actually be feasible. Said Durant:

"So as I was thinking about my decision and who I was gonna play for, this team came to mind. You know, as they lost, it becomes more and more real every day. You start to think about it even more. To see if I would fit. Then once I sat down with these guys, everything that I wanted to know about them they kinda showed me. But we don't have to talk about it though because they didn't get the job done and they came after me and who knows what would've happened. But I guess you could say I'm glad that they lost."

It's impossible to know what would have happened had the Warriors won the title. We can speculate all day about whether Durant would have wanted to join them, or whether he would have signed a one-year deal in Oklahoma City, or whether the Warriors would have moved on from Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut (which gave them the cap space to sign Durant) had they just won back-to-back titles.

But there's no point in speculating. The Warriors did lose, and Durant did sign with them in free agency. And now, two weeks before the start of the season, another Warriors title run already feels inevitable. You can almost understand why Durant is glad that his new team lost.

14 PHOTOS
Best of the NBA playoffs
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Best of the NBA playoffs
TORONTO, ON - MAY 21: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts after being hit in the face by teammate Tristan Thompson #13 during the first half against the Toronto Raptors in game three of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre on May 21, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MAY 11: DeMarre Carroll #5 of the Toronto Raptors shoots the ball and is fouled by Josh McRoberts #4 of the Miami Heat in the first half of Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on May 11, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 11: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after making a three-point basket in the first quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers during Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs on May 11, 2016 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 29: Myles Turner #33 of the Indiana Pacers celebrates during the 101-83 win over the Toronto Raptors in game six of the 2016 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on April 29, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 27: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers scores on a dunk in a 108-98 win over the Los Angeles Clippers during Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs on April 27, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 26: Mike Scott #32 of the Atlanta Hawks battles under the basket against Jae Crowder #99 of the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 26, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 26: Norman Powell #24 of the Toronto Raptors dunks the ball late in the second half of Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Indiana Pacers during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on April 26, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 23: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers drives to the basket on DeAndre Jordan #6 of the Los Angeles Clippers in the third quarter of Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Moda Center on April 23, 2016 in Portland, Oregon. The Blazers won the game 96-88. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 22: Jonas Jerebko #8 of the Boston Celtics and Evan Turner #11 react after a foul was called against Turner during the fourth quarter of Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at TD Garden on April 22, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the Hawks 111-103. NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 18: Dwight Howard #12 of the Houston Rockets is guarded by Draymond Green #23, Andrew Bogut #12 and Leandro Barbosa #19 of the Golden State Warriors in the first quarter in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 18, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 17: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives Reggie Jackson #1 of the Detroit Pistons during the second quarter of the NBA Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Quicken Loans Arena on April 17, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Pistons 106-101. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 16: Myles Turner #33 of the Indiana Pacers goes up to shoot against Patrick Patterson #54 of the Toronto Raptors in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs on April 16, 2016 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 17:Boris Diaw #33 of the San Antonio Spurs battles JaMychal Green #0 of the Memphis Grizzlies for a rebound in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on April 17, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
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