Golden State is making it look too easy as they cruise to another championship
THE SANTA CLARA
May 11, 2017
There’s no doubt that Golden State will soon hoist their second banner in three years. In fact, there’s never been a doubt since Kevin Durant’s joined the Warriors. The whole regular season and playoffs are merely a formality.
The talent of Golden State is second to none. That’s been evident from the start. But the chemistry of this team is what’s truly remarkable. The Warriors have gone without their head coach Steve Kerr for the majority of the playoffs and haven’t missed a step. Their continued success doesn’t undermine the importance of Kerr—if anything it speaks volumes to the incredible job he’s done in his three years at the helm.
Like Luke Walton, Mike Brown has done a nice job as interim coach. But at the end of the day, he’s running Kerr’s system and benefiting off the team-first environment that Kerr’s installed from the beginning. Like the regular season, Golden State is averaging the most assists per game in the playoffs. That unselfishness doesn’t appear overnight.
This postseason, the Warriors are outscoring their opponents by an average margin of 16.5 points per game. Granted, neither the Portland Trail Blazers nor the Utah Jazz are exactly juggernauts, but they’re no slouches either. The Jazz had the same number of wins as the Cavs and the Trail Blazers went 18-8 after the All-Star break. Still, neither team looked like they belonged among the Warriors.
It’s remains to be seen whether the Warriors will face the Houston Rockets or the San Antonio Spurs in the Conference Finals. But it doesn’t matter. Neither team can begin to matchup with the Warriors. Kawhi Leonard and James Harden are both elite, but they have nowhere near enough support to take down Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. It will be a sweep regardless and the Cavs will be the last opponent standing in the way of a championship.
Right now, the third segment of the Warriors vs. Cavaliers that’s in store looks appealing. The rivalry between Steph and LeBron James will grow more hostile, especially with Durant thrown into the mix. The narrative will revolve around questions like: Can Golden State can avenge last year’s Game 7 loss? Or will King James defend his crown and deliver another championship to Cleveland?
But these aren’t the questions we should be asking. It’s obvious that the Warriors will roll past Cleveland. Golden State actually looks unbeatable. One game Kevin Durant can take over, like he did in Game 3 against the Jazz, putting up 38 points and 13 rebounds. The next game it was Curry’s time to dominate, posting 30 points and seven assists in the Warriors 26-point victory.
The only question at this point is whether the Warriors can sweep the playoffs and go 16-0 or if LeBron can manage to nab a game. But the discussion itself is a silly one—what really matters is that the Warriors bring home the championship.
And when Durant wins his first championship and Curry claims Finals MVP, the NBA will have a real crisis on its hand. Competition is inherent to sports, yet it will cease to truly exist in the NBA. For the foreseeable future, the Warriors will continue to rule the league.
Both Klay and Draymond Green are just 27, Kevin Durant is 28 and Steph recently turned 29. Couple this core of All-Stars and MVPs with a brilliant GM and head coach in Bob Myers and Steve Kerr, who will continue to draft and develop overlooked talent, and veterans who want to win a ring.
Dub Nation is supposed to not look too far ahead and just savor this championship run instead, but how can you not imagine just how elite this Warriors team can become?
It’s possible to do both. No Warriors fan will overlook LeBron stewing in defeat or Curry hoisting his second Larry O’Brien trophy. But in the back of their mind, they’ll wonder if Golden State will repeat. And that’s not a bad thing. The Warriors are out to craft their dynasty, and that can only happen by winning one championship at a time. But this team, built around the most extraordinary core in league history, won’t be satisfied with just this title. They’ll have to keep winning championships to be considered the gold standard of the NBA.
Contact Andrew Slap at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.