Monte Poole | NBC SPORTS
Asked once upon a time why the A’s seemed so resistant inviting their illustrious alumni back to Oakland to celebrate history while promoting the franchise and the game of baseball, Oakland general manager Billy Beane began his reply with five words I’ll never forget.
“I’m really not into nostalgia …”
Though Beane’s focus in the early 2000s was on the current product, as it should have been, his neglect of the team’s hallowed history seemed short-sighted, a missed opportunity to remind folks that the A’s had royal blood in their baseball genes, reaching six World Series in 19 seasons, winning four. The Giants, by contrast, were 0-for-1 during that span but practically perfected the art of peddling their history.
The Warriors, thankfully, won’t be following the blueprint the A’s have since shredded.
They are going to wave their greatness at every turn, spotlighting banners, retiring numbers, building statues and perhaps, if co-chairmen Joe Lacob and Peter Guber have their way, maybe even hiring a choir to stand outside Chase Center singing hymns of glory.
As well they should, for the Warriors spent five seasons looking down upon a landscape of NBA teams in various stages of futility. Some surrendered. Some pursued with valor but were vanquished just the same. A few couldn’t keep themselves from spitting invective reeking of envy.
When they were atrocious, as they were for most of the 35 years between 1978 and 2013, the Warriors were clobbered with criticism. Now that the resurgent group we’ve come to know is breaking apart – while the rest of the suddenly emancipated NBA rearranged itself in stunning, spectacular fashion – it seems only fair that the recent past gets recognized.
- The Warriors were 322-88 over the past five seasons, the best record and most wins over a five-year stretch in NBA history. That’s the knockout rebuttal to any argument coming from fans of the Jordan Bulls, the Shaq-Kobe Lakers, the Showtime Lakers or the Celtics of Larry Almighty Bird.
- The Warriors won 73 games in 2015-16, wiping away the 72 wins of the 1995-96 Bulls and setting an NBA record that dares challenge.
- The Warriors won 54 consecutive home games, also posting a 78-4 regular-season record in games at Oracle Arena over a two-year span
- Most 3-pointers in a game? Stephen Curry, with 13 in 2016, broken by Klay Thompson’s 14 in 2018.
- Most 3-pointers in a season? Curry, with 402 in 2015-16.
- Only unanimous MVP in league history? Curry, same season.
- Their response to losing the 2016 NBA Finals was to snag Kevin Durant and win back-to-back championships – blistering the league with a 16-1 postseason in 2017.
- Most points in a quarter? Thompson, with 37 in 2015.
- First teammates with 50-point games in a single week? Curry and Thompson last season.
- Best plus-minus in a single season? Draymond Green, at plus-1,072 during the season of 73.
- The 24 wins (2015) to open a season, the 34 road wins (2016) and the 16 consecutive home playoff victories, all records, as are the 114.8 offensive rating in 2016-17 and the 56.9 effective field goal percentage the very next season.
There are more individual and team records, of course, but to list them all is more a matter of accounting than appreciation. Besides, it would provide merely a glimpse of what made these seasons so special for the Warriors.
Led by Curry on one end and Green on the other, the Warriors changed the way the game is played. Under coach Steve Kerr, they combined the passing of the Gregg Popovich Spurs, the defense of the Jordan Bulls and the 3-point shooting accuracy of lab robots and turned it into a force so fierce the rest of the league wanted to emulate.
They went, in a ridiculously short period, from being the team few in the Bay Area cared to claim to one many locals claimed to love.
Not an arena in the league is without the presence of Warriors fans, sometimes loud enough to unnerve the local supporters. Not a block can be walked in the Bay Area without seeing folks in Warriors gear, mostly T-shirts and hoodies and caps – and that doesn’t count the tattoos.
Gone are such stars as Andre Iguodala and Durant. Going soon is Shaun Livingston. Gone, too, are JaVale McGee and Marreese Speights and Leandro Barbosa and Ian Clark and David West and Harrison Barnes and Zaza Pachulia and Festus Ezeli. Gone again are Matt Barnes and Andrew Bogut.
The Warriors of 2019-20 will be dramatically different, closer to the 2012-13 bunch except with more established veterans and likely fewer future All-Stars.
For five years, though, the Warriors went higher than anybody could have imagined. They won’t let anyone forget. Nor should they.
Steph Curry opens up about Kevin Durant’s exit, state of Warriors after big changes
Andy Nesbitt | USA USA TODAY SPORTS
It’s been a busy few weeks in the NBA, as big names have been on the move ever since free agency began earlier this month.
The Golden State Warriors have been right in the middle of all that action, as they lost Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets and then parted ways with such mainstays as Andre Iguodala (via trade) and Shaun Livingston (waived).
On Thursday, we were able to find out what Steph Curry thought about the state of the Warriors as he talked to the media after a practice round at the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament in Tahoe.
Curry opened up about Durant’s exit with this classy answer that you’d expect from such a strong leader:
He said, via The Mercury News:
“I mean, the three years that we had were special. With K.D., we had three straight Finals appearances. We won two of them, and we accomplished a lot as a group. Everybody talks about the amount of talent that we had on our team, but that doesn’t guarantee that you can figure it out on the court, that you can put all the pieces together to be successful. I’m really proud of what we accomplished.
“The beauty of free agency is everybody has a decision, everybody has a choice. You want to find your happiness wherever that is. The beauty of the NBA is everybody has that decision at some point, especially guys that deserve it, like KD and other top free agents. I like to look at what we accomplished and focus on that and be extremely proud of this run that we had. Now we are going to have to recreate it in terms of what it means going forward.”
Curry talked about D’Angelo Russell, who’s now a member of the Warriors:
“The noise he made last year was amazing, what they did in Brooklyn and him taking the next step as a certified all-star. I haven’t had much personal interaction with him, on or off the court other than playing against each other. Back when he was drafted, there were some comparisons of our game, how smooth he played, he can shoot, he can pass. Having a guy versatile like that only helps your team.
“The chemistry will develop quickly. We’ll be really purposeful about that and try to set the tone how we’ll play this year. It’s about encouraging each other and having confidence that we’ll bring the best out of each other. Then when Klay gets back as well, we’ll add him to the backcourt mix. It’s going to be fun.”
On the loss of Iguodala and Livingston:
“I’m the oldest on the team now, so I’m going to have to step my game up. It’s a tough business. That’s part of it. We knew at some point or another, whether it was this year or next year or the year after, there were going to be some hard decisions, some hard changes.
“You talk about Andre and Shaun, two guys that do things the right way, having the ultimate level of professionalism and leadership, and just have a presence when they walk in the room, that makes them who they are, three-time champs, both of them. They have a lot left in the tank. So it’s going to be fun, going to be hard to watch them on other teams. But look at all that we accomplished and those are things we’ll remember for a lifetime.
“It will develop as we get together as a group. A lot of changes. It’s a tough way to end the Finals with K.D. and Klay getting injured, and obviously free agency. For us, our core, myself, Klay (Thompson), Draymond (Green), adding D’Angelo and a lot of hungry, young guys trying to prove themselves in the league, it’ll look different in terms of the lineups and things like that. But the expectations of how we play, that championship-caliber basketball, that for us will always be the motivation and the challenge.
“I’m excited, to be honest with you. Five straight years in the Finals and we’ve accomplished a lot, and three championships. There’s a lot to be proud of. But everybody wants a new challenge in terms of how do you get back to that level.”
It will be interesting to see how the Warriors bounce back next season, but you know Curry is going have fun trying to lead them through their new challenges.