As a sports reporter, I feel like it’s my job to play the cynic or the doubter. As devil’s advocate, I sometimes can stay away from the excitement of a winning team.
In finding flaws, I am able to stay objective.
In that, I’ve found common ground with Warriors fans over the last three years. I’ve learned that the Golden State faithful are a fan base that constantly believes, but at the same time, constantly doubts.
There have been bright spots with the Run TMC and We Believe teams. But even then, the Warriors took their fan base to the brink of success, walked them to the edge just before the rug was pulled out from under them.
Many Warriors fans in the Bay Area still hold their breath, waiting for the failing shoe to drop, the recurring sentiment being, ‘We’re doing great right now, but something will go wrong.’
Even over the three seasons I’ve covered the team, I can’t help but agree. The Warriors have showed glimmers of hope, only to fall short and disappoint.
But this season is different, this team is different. I tried to hold out as a skeptic, but 78 games have gone by, and now it’s just impossible.
It’s time to stop waiting for the terrible to happen, time for everyone to sit back and realize that there is something historic and beautiful happening in the East Bay.
Sure, a freak injury could happen and ruin the rest of the season and yes, you can’t predict who will win the NBA title, but this Warriors team has already met and exceeded expectations that were set before the start of the season.
It’s true, the Warriors could meet San Antonio in the playoffs and the veteran Spurs could thump them the way they did Sunday night.
But look at what has happened this season and is happening right now. This Warriors team isn’t one that is exciting and good, but just shy of great. This is arguably the best team in basketball.
Golden State fans, I’m worried that if you don’t take a step back and marvel at what is currently in front of you, you might miss it.
I spoke with Warriors coach Steve Kerr about this very sentiment, and he agrees. Kerr said he wants the fans to enjoy every moment:
“I think its important to stop and enjoy it a little bit. I could spew out the cliches about thinking one game at a time and focused on the big picture and all that stuff but why would we do that? We should enjoy it while it happens. You can’t take this stuff for granted in the NBA. We’ve got a special thing going. It doesn’t mean anything in terms of what could happen tonight or tomorrow or after that. But what we’re accomplishing each day we should enjoy.”
So if you’ve been too busy thinking ‘this is too good to be true,’ let’s recall some of the highlights from this season, the things you should appreciate, and the things that are true.
The Warriors are having their winningest season in franchise history (having won 63 games with four remaining) as they shatter numerous franchise records:
- Longest win streak in Warriors history (16)
- most consecutive home-wins in franchise history (19)
- most consecutive road-wins in franchise history (10)
- 28 road wins
- 44 double-digit victories on the books
Golden State is so good at home, they are the only team in NBA history to have swept multiple home stands of at least six games.
The Warriors lead the league in field goal percentage (47.7), three-point percentage (39.5), assists per-game (27.4) and have the highest margin of victory — by far — at 10.4 points per game.
The Warriors won the Pacific Division for the first time in 39 years along with locking up the Western Conference title and best record in the league.
If the team accomplishments aren’t convincing enough, the individual achievements will surely make you realize that the Warriors are on the brink of something great.
Steve Kerr has more wins — 63 — than any first-year head coach in NBA history, beating out Paul Westphal and Tom Thibodeau, who together held the record with 62 wins a piece.
Kerr was named Coach of the Month first in January and then a second time in March after going 16-2, the most wins in a single month by the Warriors. He became the first coach in Warriors history to win the award twice in the same season.
Klay Thompson first broke his personal mark Nov. 1 against the Lakers with 41 points. Then, on Jan. 23, he erupted for 52 points while setting an NBA record for scoring in a quarter with 37 points in just 9:44. He also broke the record for the most threes scored in a single quarter, hitting a perfect 9-for-9 from distance.
Stephen Curry is averaging 23.6 points, 7.7 assists, and two steals per game and is just five three-pointers away from topping his own NBA record of 272 three-pointers made in a single season. Curry beat out LeBron James for the most votes of any player for the All-Star Team, won the three-point contest at during All-Star Weekend and is at the forefront of every MVP conversation.
Draymond Green has become the everything man, a starting power forward, and all around over-achiever who coaches and front offices everywhere love to hate, and hate to love. He is a top contender for Defensive Player of the Year and along with career nights he logged his first career triple-double this season.
Marreese Speights has exceeded everything anyone could have ever expected and is legitimately in the conversation for Sixth Man of the Year.
Andrew Bogut is healthy and thriving, anchoring the Warriors as one of the best passing bigs in the game and proving that rim protection is anything but overrated.
Kerr has brought together an A-list coaching staff with the likes of Alvin Gentry and Ron Adams, putting chemistry, success and sacrifice above seniority and contract size.
And instead of being stocked with D-League refugees, bargain-basement big men and failed draft-day experiments, the Warriors bench is a second legitimate starting five, with veterans Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa, and former All-Stars Andre Iguodala and David Lee all giving Warriors starters much-needed stretches of important rest.
Stephen Curry just may hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy over his head as the Warriors win their first title since 1975-76. But they may not.
Golden State is closing out one of the best and most memorable seasons the NBA has ever seen. In a loaded Western Conference, they have easily risen to the top.
The championship-or-bust mentality is for the players to have. As fans, appreciate that history has been made and a season like this may not happen again for a very long time.
This Warriors team isn’t one that is exciting and good, but just not good enough. This is arguably the best team in basketball.
Years of suffering through ugly teams and shoddy basketball, showing up and cheering even when there was very little to cheer for and thinking you would never know what NBA superiority feels like. You’ve felt none of that this year.
Enjoy it DubNation. Enjoy it while it lasts.