A year after blowing a 3-1 lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Golden State Warriors are champions once again.
This season the Warriors had one of the most dominant playoff performances in NBA history in route to their second NBA title in three years. Golden State went 16-1 in the postseason and closed out the Cavs in five games.
They waited all year for this moment; to be champions once again. They endured the 3-1 jokes, and rightfully so. They stayed quiet, took the criticism, remained unselfish and won, a lot. They had another regular season in which they had the best overall record (67-15) in the league despite losing their big offseason acquisition for 19 games late in the year because of injury.
What makes this team great is not just the fact that they signed the second-best player in the league in Kevin Durant. It’s also not that they have four All-Stars in Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Their greatness actually lies in their defense and their willingness to play as a team.
In 2015 when the Warriors won their first title they had the highest defensive efficiency in the league throughout the regular season. During their storied 73-win season their defensive efficiency dropped and instead they had the highest offensive efficiency in the league. This year that defensive efficiency shot back up to No.1 and was a big reason for their convincing finals win over Cleveland.
— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) June 13, 2017
Does Golden State have firepower like we’ve never seen before on one team, of course. Durant averaged 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists in the Finals while Curry averaged 26.8 points, 8 rebounds and 9.4 assists. Plus, they have a guy named Klay Thompson that went off for 22 and 30 in game 2 and game 3 respectively. Although Thompson’s numbers weren’t as impressive as Curry’s or Durant’s, his defense on the Cavaliers, particularly Kyrie Irving, was everything for the Warriors. But games 2 and 3 reminded everyone that he too can get hot, and when all three of their sharpshooters are lit there’s no hope for the opposition.
Maybe even more impressive about this Warriors team is that this Finals is just the beginning of something great. As many have noted, including LeBron James, Golden State is built to last. All of their key players are under 30 years old and are reportedly willing to take pay cuts in order to stay together and keep winning. With how dominant this team has been over the last three seasons in the NBA, and adding Durant to that mix, there’s no team currently constructed that can overcome the Warriors.
It’s no wonder Las Vegas already has the Dubs as a -200 favorite to win it all next year, the largest win probability for any team in any sport ever entering a new season. This group of players in Oakland has the chance to become a true dynasty, and by the looks it that’s exactly what is going to happen. Chances are this core stays intact at least three more years. In that time, not even Cleveland can dethrone them, no matter who they add. The Warriors are back at the center of the NBA world that 29 other teams are just living in frantically working on how to crack the Da Vinci code that is Golden State. A code teams will be trying to crack for years to come because this Warriors team is just getting started.