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Golden State of Mind

What does it mean to be a sports dynasty? It means dominating a sport for multiple years while propelling the popularity of the game to new heights. Whether it was Troy Aikman’s Cowboys, Derek Jeter’s Yankees, or Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls, theses dynasties moved their sports into new levels of popularity.  This brings us to the summer of 2018, where again the sports world is getting an opportunity to watch the newest sports dynasty in the Golden State Warriors. After going to the finals for 4 consecutive years, wining three of the of the four years it seemed pretty clear that they solidified themselves as the newest sports dynasty.

Yet, in their race in establishing a lasting legacy they added All-NBA Star Demarcus Cousins to their Line-up. While I have a lot of issue with this move I cannot blame Golden State franchise for doing everything they can to improve their team and trying to solidify themselves as basketballs greatest dynasty. And one has to respect Golden States willingness to do everything possible to accomplish their goal of wining multiple championships. And no one can question how the warriors have fundamentally changed basketball. Similar to how Magic and Bird made the game more team-oriented, The Warriors lead by Steph Curry and Steve Kerr revolutionized the use of the three-point line and pace. Before the warriors, the three-point line seemed more like a luxury rather than dependable weapons. Yes teams would make plays for three point shots, but it was still not very popular, and most threes were taken late game when teams needed points. Yet, through the warriors systems, they have maximized the 3-point shot. And Curry single handedly paved the way for guards to shoot 3’s off the dribble. Before Steph, taking those three’s was considered “bad shots”.

To put it into perspective, the year prior them wining a championship the team that attempted the most three pointers were the Houston rockets with 26 shots. Fast-forward to this past season the Rockets again lead the league in three pointers attempted but this time they averaged 42 three-point shots in the game. To put it in even more perspective the Clippers, which was 22nd this year in three pointers attempted still took more three pointers than that 2013 Houston team.  Golden State changed the pace of the game. Before teams would utilize the majority of the shot clock, and would generally have a big man that they could dump to the post. Many teams in the past have had great success with this style of play- notably the Spurs with Tim Duncan. The Warriors completely flipped the script making quick use of the shot clock and having guys ready to start the fast break leading to easy shots. Every team now is essentially playing this fast paced style of offense, which has seriously diminished the roles of the “traditional” big man.

Yet, despite all of the accolades and historic changes the warriors have made it is clear that their path to victory has been crippled with multiple controversies. The first obvious controversy has been the signing of major stars Kevin Durant, and Demarcus Cousins. Never in the history of the league has their been such a ridiculous amount of talent on one team. To put it in perspective tall 5 guys played significant role in Team USA in the previous Olympics.  Yet, as stated previously one cannot blame an organization for wanting to sign the best possible player. However, the second more intriguing controversy is the number of injury breaks that the warriors have received for the past four years.

In their first championship run Kevin Durant was sidelined due to injury preventing OKC from entering the playoffs, and then later both of Cleveland’s Stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were injured for the majority of the Finals. The next year with a healthy Cavs team they infamously blew a 3-1 lead and despite setting a NBA record for regular season wins, was deemed a failure for not winning a championship. The year after in Game 1 of the NBA finals despite having Kevin Durant, the Warriors were down by double digits at home against the San Antonio Spurs until Zaza Pachulia essentially took out Kawhi Leonard for the rest of the series. And in this previous year, Chris Paul gets injured right when they rockets take a 3-2 series lead over the warriors. To say that the Warriors have had a few lucky breaks is an understatement, but at the end of the day this just demonstrates how hard it is to be a dynasty. Despite having one of the best team’s teams that the league has ever seen they still needed to have just enough luck to win these championships. And this is ignoring the fact that for the most part the majority of the stars have not had to deal with any major injury during the later stages of the Playoffs. It’s a testament to how rare these dynasties are and it should remind fans to enjoy watching greatness while it is still present.

While dynasties are great, they rarely last, and it with many contracts ending soon it seems unlikely that the warriors will be able to keep this team for multiple years as it is presently constructed. Simply enjoy these moments knowing that every time this team play fans are getting the chance to watch the greatest caliber of Basketball ever played.

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