The Boston Celtics. The Los Angeles Lakers. The Chicago Bulls. The San Antonio Spurs. And now, the Golden State Warriors. By defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 4-1 in this year’s Finals and claiming their fifth title, the Warriors proved that they are one of the elite franchises of the National Basketball Association and the dynasty of the 2010s. Against the Cavaliers for the third time in as many years in the championship, Golden State did what they hadn’t done before- they demolished the Cavs, who’d won 12 of 13 playoff games prior to that point and could’ve been its own dynasty in a different era. Golden State’s dominance this season puts this year’s team in the conversation for the best team of all-time, and it’s easy to see why.
The Warriors could be the best on-paper team ever and the number of superstars in their lineup blows my mind. Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green could all be the franchise player in another city, while former Finals MVP Andre Iguodala used to be the main man in Philadelphia but now comes off the bench. With the offseason addition of Durant, the chemistry between the superstars seemed a potential weakness, but Durant’s incredible Finals performance and Finals MVP award has put those whispers to rest.
Another drawback to the addition of Durant was the loss of several key role players. But the Warriors’ bench was still one of the best in the league, if not the best. Veterans Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa, David West, Matt Barnes and JaVale McGee contributed greatly to the team’s success and provided leadership and experience to a team with a very young core.
In the past two years, three different men have suited up as the Warriors’ head coach due to the health issues of the main head coach, Steve Kerr. All were phenomenal and not once did the Warriors’ turmoil translate to the court. Golden State’s fun-loving culture was what attracted KD to the Bay last offseason and is essential to such an amazing three-year run.
Golden State’s numbers don’t lie. The Dubs won their first 15 playoff games and finished the playoffs with a 16-1 record, the former statistic an NBA record. The Warriors were unstoppable offensively, scoring over 110 points in each of the five Finals games, and have transformed the game with their three-point prowess and versatility. The defense was equally dominant, stifling the Cavaliers when it counted. Even with Cavalier legend LeBron James averaging a triple double with double-digit points, rebounds and assists, there was no way that he alone could upset the Warriors. And the best number of all- four, as in the number of Finals games the Warriors won last year after blowing a 3-1 series lead.
Intangibles play a vital, if confusing, role in professional sports. This year, the Dubs wanted it more. Kevin Durant had never won a title and wanted to silence critics of his offseason relocation to Oakland. Last year’s squad wanted to avenge the embarrassing performance in last year’s Finals. On the other side, the Cavaliers were still celebrating their championship from last year and it showed, especially after they were eliminated after Game 5 and barely shed a tear.
The Warriors proved that they are one of the sport’s greatest dynasties with two titles in three years. Now, the question is sustainability. The addition of Durant certainly made Golden State better, but does his addition shorten the Warriors’ championship window considering that all of the superstars will need to be paid in the coming offseasons? How long can this team stay together, and at this level of dominance? With another Warriors-Cavaliers NBA Finals likely next year, we’ll find out soon.