Golden State Warriors: Now’s Not The Time To Doubt The Dubs


The Golden State Warriors remained quiet during the offseason while all of their competitors made big moves, but that didn’t mean they were going to regress

New is always better, right? That new pair of jeans is always more comfortable than the ones you’ve worn for the last five years. Your new girlfriend is always more fun than your old one. That new Volkswagen you just got is…oh wait, never mind. Maybe new isn’t always better.

Before the NBA season began, it was easy to look at certain offseason additions – especially in the Western Conference – and get really excited about the possibilities. The San Antonio Spurs brought in LaMarcus Aldridge and David West to relieve their aging stars. The Houston Rockets traded next to nothing to add Ty Lawson, who would only make the 2015 Western Conference runner-ups better. The LA Clippers added Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith, and Paul Pierce in an attempt to finally solidify their roster, and make a serious run in the West.

The new additions were supposed to propel these teams to the top of the loaded Western Conference, and most pre-season predictions reflected this belief. People were calling for Cavs/Spurs, Cavs/Rockets, and Cavs/Rockets Finals with absolute certainty.

The defending champion Golden State Warriors, for one reason or another, were largely left out of those conversations. The Dubs didn’t necessarily get all of the respect that they deserved for their title. There was excitement from NBA fans over LeBron James and the Cavaliers being beaten, and the typical ESPN over-hyping, but they didn’t really get the credit that they should have. I believe that’s in part due to the sentiment that their championship was lucky.

It’s not a totally unreasonable argument. During the 2015 postseason, the Warriors avoided major injuries unlike some of the other top teams, dodged the Spurs, the one team in the West who could have beaten them, and got to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals without Kevin Love or Kyrie Irving. Did those factors help them? Sure. But every championship team finds some sort of luck along their path

to winning. Just ask Robert Horry and his 7 rings, or Ray Allen and the 2013 Miami Heat, or Brian Scalabrine. Luck plays a part on the road to a championship, and it takes absolutely nothing away from what the Golden State Warriors did last year.

Based on this idea, and also the fact that the Warriors aren’t an established basketball institution like the Spurs, or even the Celtics or the Lakers, who have a history of consistent winning, people wrote Golden State’s success off as a one-time deal.

Where that idea came from, I’m not sure. Alright, the Warriors didn’t make a big free agency splash like some of their Western Conference counterparts did over the summer. But they also didn’t get any worse. The sole departure from the title-winning roster was David Lee, who only played 8.2 minutes per game during the 2015 playoffs, and had really become an expensive, and expendable member of the team with the emergence of Draymond Green. The only other changes from last season’s roster, are the additions of Jason Thompson, formerly of the Kings, and rookie forward Kevon Looney.

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There was no reason for anyone to doubt this team, because as it turns out, the roster that Golden State returned this season is a pretty damn good one. Let’s not forget that this is a team that won 67 games last season, and completely manhandled the rest of the league, suffocating it with deadly 3-point shooting, and incredible efficiency on both sides of the ball.

In 2014-2015, the Warriors shot just under 48 percent from the field, and nearly 40 percent from behind the 3-point line, both percentages up there with the best shooting teams of all time. This efficiency contributed to Golden State’s strong offensive rating (an estimate of points produced by a team over 100 possessions) of 112.2. That number puts them above the 2008 Celtics with a rating of 110.2, and just below the 1996 Bulls, widely regarded as the greatest team of all-time, with a rating of 114.4.

Say what you want about luck, the 2014-2015 Warriors were no fluke. They were the real deal, and statistically one of the best teams of all-time

Another impressive statistic was the Golden State Warriors’ average margin of victory-a major indicator of greatness common with almost all of the NBA’s all-time best teams. The 1987 champion Lakers, with Magic Johnson and an aging Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had an average margin of victory of 9.3 points per game. The 1986 Celtics, who also one 67 games, going 40-1 at the Boston Garden en route to a title, won by an average of 9.4 points per game. Last season, the Warriors won their games by an average of 10.1 PPG. Say what you want about luck, the 2014-2015 Warriors were no fluke. They were the real deal, and statistically one of the best teams of all-time.

The 2015-2016 Warriors are now picking up off right where they left off. Through seven games, the Warriors own an undefeated record, winning their games by an average of 18 points. Stephen Curry has continued his MVP form, averaging a shade under 34 PPG, the surrounding pieces of Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Harrison Barnes have continued to perform, and the impressive development of Festus Ezeli gives this team an added dimension that could end up being really scary for the rest of the league.

Most importantly, the Warriors have come out strong, and have proven that they’re still the team to beat in the West. Too many people prior to the season were way to quick to take the crown away from Golden State, and hand it to another team. And you know what, it may have been exactly what the Dubs needed. After a team wins a championship, especially a young one, it’s difficult for them to come back with that same desire the next season.

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Defending champs need some extra sort of motivation to get them through the regular season. The LeBron James Heat fed off of constant hate. The mid-80’s Celtics and Lakers fed off of the Magic/Bird rivalry, and the challenge of one team trying to keep up with the other. I’m not sure what the Spurs, and more importantly Tim Duncan have fed off of to keep them going for the last 15 years, but whatever it is, we need to get it to the military ASAP. In the Warriors’ case, it appears that the doubt cast upon them by many in the NBA community may have lit a flame under them.

Now the Golden State Warriors are on a mission, and it’s time for the rest of the league to watch out – because the Warriors are no one-time hit.