Golden State Clinches Western Conference Title…Again

Demarcus Cousins is set to be evaluated this week and we should know if he is ready to go for the Finals then. Steph Curry had a triple-double with 37 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists. Enes Kanter came off the bench again and contributed 6 points and 2 rebounds in 13 minutes.

The Warriors have a stacked team and I have been a long hater of them for it. I want to take a look objectively though at the team and it’s rise to dominance.

On December 1st, 1997 Latrell Sprewell choked head coach P. J. Carlesimo after he asked Sprewell to “put a little mustard” on a pass. The Warriors GM came out and said that Sprewell would never play for them again and the NBA suspended him for the rest of the season. This started a difficult stretch until Baron Davis was able to take Golden State back to the playoffs in 2007 and they even beat the top seeded Mavericks marking the first time a #8 seed beat a #1 seed since 1999. They ended up getting taken out by the Jazz in the second round. They continued to struggle even though they picked up some key draft choices, Stephen Curry was drafted 7th overall in 2009 and Klay Thompson with the 11th pick in the 2011 draft. It wasn’t until the 2012 draft where they finished finding all the pieces they needed to make a good run in the postseason. In that draft they selected small forward Harrison Barnes with the 7th overall pick, center Festus Ezeli with the 30th pick, small forward Draymond Green with the 35th pick, and 7-foot-1 center Ognjen Kuzmic with the 52nd pick. This led to a great year for the Warriors finishing the season with a record of 47–35 and earning a 6 seed in the playoffs. They got knocked out by the Spurs in the second round but the playoff experience was very important for the development of its young stars. During the 2013 offseason they picked up Andre Iguodala during free agency and that addition helped them improve their regular season record, going 51-31. They got bounced in the first round by the Clippers. The defining moment in this dynasty was the transition in the head coaching job from Mark Jackson to Steve Kerr in the 2014 offseason. The upcoming season saw a jump in wins with a record of 67-15 and a home record of 39-2. They went on to beat Lebron’s Cavs in six games to take home the NBA Championship. This started a run where the Warriors won 3 titles, had 5 straight Finals appearances counting this year, kept their core players, and added big free agent signings in Kevin Durant and Demarcus Cousins. The model they’ve used has been very successful and has even caused a shift in how the game is played by making it more important to shoot threes and spread the floor by having 4-5 guys with deep range.

I was a huge Bulls fan thanks to watching WGN as a kid. Michael Jordan is the best player I’ve ever seen play the game but if I had to choose the person that comes closest to the legendary status of Jordan, it would be Steph Curry. What he’s done after only being offered a walk-on spot at his father’s alma mater (Virginia Tech) and ultimately choosing to play for Davidson is remarkable. The thing that creates legends in my mind isn’t about numbers and more about the feeling at the end of the game and the ball is in one player’s hands with the game on the line. Curry would be the guy I’d like to have on my team in that situation today.

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