Are the Golden State Warriors really a Dynasty?
Analysis of the Golden State Warriors from the perspective of a neutral NBA fan and what it means to form a super team.
The Golden State Warriors have just won their 2nd straight NBA title after sweeping Cleveland Cavaliers in the finals, their 3rd in 4 years. They had the best record in NBA for 3 consecutive years(2014-2017) and went on an unprecedented 16-1 run in the 2016-17 postseason.
Not to mention, they have 4 all stars, 2 former MVPs in their starting lineup and a coach who has played alongside Michael Jordan. When the Warriors run their famed motion offence while limiting turnovers, they are virtually unstoppable. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson can torch opposition teams and turn games into blowouts in the blink of an eye.
Kevin Durant can score consistently over any defender given his sheer length and skill set, while Draymond Green provides gritty defense and brings toughness to the team. Having a plethora of forwards who can handle the ball helps their system.
Nevertheless, some critics aren't completely sold on their dominance, as they've rarely played against a full-strength squad against a true contender. Would they have won the title if Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love played in the 2015 series? How much did Kawhi Leonard's injury affect their almost perfect 2017 playoff run? Did an untimely injury to Chris Paul save them from elimination in the Western Conference Finals this year?
Deep down, all NBA fans know that their 2015 title was the outcome of unfortunate injuries to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Warriors, led by the then regular season MVP, Stephen Curry, needed 6 games to beat LeBron James who had no support down the stretch. Back then, it was a young team on the rise; but to call them a dynasty in 2015 itself is a bit of a stretch.
The very next year, they went on a historical 73-9 run, besting the NBA record of the legendary 95-96 Chicago Bulls, overcame a 3-1 deficit against Oklahoma City Thunder and were up 3-1 against Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. In a pivotal game 5, Warriors played without their defensive mastermind Draymond Green, who got suspended for his on court antics, and lost their chance to close out on a second consecutive title.
LeBron James and Kyrie Irving punished them with their scoring prowess, eventually winning the series in 7 games. Had they won the 2016 NBA title, one could have argued that this team was going to become a dynasty. But this heartbreaking loss eventually made them recruit Kevin Durant and the rest is history.
The 2017 playoffs was a different story, with 2 teams dominating and sweeping their way into the Finals for 3rd consecutive time. One may argue that the Spurs could have won 1 or 2 games had Kawhi not got injured. But there is no doubt that rest of the teams just couldn't figure out a way to breakdown the Warriors' offence. 2017 was their year.
Fast forward 2 months, and the Houston Rockets had retooled their entire squad with the sole purpose of defeating Golden State Warriors.They almost pulled it off! Had it not been for an untimely injury to Chris Paul, they could have won in 6 games. An electrifying Stephen Curry 3rd quarter in game 6 followed by a cold shooting night by Rockets in game 7 resulted in Cavaliers vs Warriors: Part IV.
So the final question - Is Golden State Warriors a dynasty? No. Remember that their current roster isn't even remotely close to their 2015 roster. Before the arrival of Kevin Durant, they were not a dynasty and there will be doubters who will not term them as a dynasty unless they perform well against a healthy opposition squad.
Winning 3 titles in a row they has shut down the talks of them being a lucky team. With other teams planning to take them down and many All Star caliber players looking to form a super team in the upcoming off season, will the Warriors be able to do a 3-peat?