Remember when some impugned the greatness of the Golden State Warriors? The premise was that the champs were fortunate because of all the injuries plaguing opposing teams.
Well, those reigning champs have answered that bell to the tune of a 29-1 record and the best start in NBA history, which included a 24-game winning streak to begin the year. If this isn’t impressive, the Warriors have also won 33 straight regular-season games at home…yikes.
The scary part is that this team is better than the one last year that ascended to basketball immortality, winning 67 games in the regular season before capturing the franchise’s first title in 40 years. Golden State is now drawing comparisons to what many have deemed the greatest team ever: the ’96 Bulls.
And it isn’t just about history possibly being made with this Warriors team on pace to break the 72-win record the Bulls set that year, but it’s inspired the “Who would win if these two teams ever squared off?” debate.
It’s a futile conversation because with everyone salivating at the thought of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen going up against Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, it’s obviously a dream that could never come to fruition.
So let’s just live in the moment, shall we? The Warriors don’t look like a team that won last year. There’s a level of unparalleled hunger emanating from this group of guys.
With head coach Steve Kerr still recovering from back surgery, the Warriors haven’t missed a beat. And a huge reason for that is the sound of that “beat” lies within the heart of one, Draymond Green.
He was known as the one who talked too much, but really couldn’t back it up. And during the NBA Finals, this lack of faith in Green’s game was illuminated by Cavs head coach David Blatt’s strategy.
The gameplan was to let everyone not named Curry or Thompson have to beat them. The Cavs blitzed pick-and-rolls, forcing the league-MVP to give the ball up.
There was no helping off of Thompson or Curry when others penetrated into the lane nor was there a thought of allowing them to just stand at the three point line on fastbreaks for easy points.
Green was often the man left open; the Cavs put pressure on him to make plays. And since then, that’s all Draymond has been doing for this team.
Green has now become one of the most valuable players in the league, averaging 14.9 points, 9.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.3 steals. Green’s versatility is one of the main reasons Golden State has been this successful. His ability to guard every position, spread the floor and make plays on both ends gives his team the opportunity to run with the small ball lineup.
Golden State has provided us excitement and invigoration. The 82-game season can become tedious at times, but these Warriors are playing every night as if their championship hopes are on the line every time they’re on the floor.
The league has been put on notice. Heck, even J.R. Smith expressed his disappointment when the Warriors’ winning streak ended because he wanted his team to give them their first blemish.
It’s been fun to watch. After winning the Western Conference by 11 games a season ago, the Golden State Warriors aren’t done yet. Steph Curry and Draymond Green have this team playing at such a high level with sights now set on repeating.
There’s no need for validation. The Warriors know they’re good. Even when they’ve prompted the NBA to try to adjust to their style of play by trying to mimic it, Curry quelled that notion by saying teams won’t be able to do so because they simply lack the personnel.
Hold on to your seats NBA fans. This is a regular season worth watching. We might be witnessing history. With every Steph three-pointer and Draymond assist, Golden State inches closer to the 72-win mark; you might be able to hear fans channel their inner Kirk Cousins, would you like that?