The Warriors’ rise to power
Even though I have always been a basketball fan, watching the Warriors’ rise to greatness has been special. This team showed me something I had never seen on the court before: a team that wins because their coach has cultivated the talent of mostly smaller players, all of whom are three-point shooters, rather than relying on big bruising centers, power forwards, and blockbuster trades.
For years, the Chicago Bulls were put on a pedestal due to super-star Michael Jordan winning six championships in eight years and their prestigious 72-10 regular season record. This record was the best in NBA history for ten years, until the Golden State Warriors went 73-9 in the 2015-2016 season.
What makes the Warriors special? They take many no-name players and turn them into superstars, thanks to head coach Steve Kerr, who was coincidently the starting shooting guard for the 1996 Chicago Bulls that went 72-10. Kerr was an outstanding shooter, so it’s no surprise that his team specializes in shooting.
The Warriors are led by Stephen Curry, who has broken many records himself, including making 402 three-pointers in 82 games. In the 2014-2015 season, Curry broke that record by making 270 three-pointers in 82 games, then beat that record by 132 three-pointers; that’s unheard of. No one in the history of the NBA had come close to 270 three-pointers, and he shattered that record the following year.
Curry won the MVP award in the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons due to his leadership, incredible talent, and the ability to make all of his teammates better. Curry was the third point guard ever to win back-to-back MVP awards, and the first unanimous winner.
From 1994-2006, the Warriors broke the record for most consecutive seasons—12—without a playoff appearance, one of the most embarrassing records to have in the NBA.
From 2006-2011, the Warriors made the playoffs once, breaking that streak. 2006 was their “dream big year,” where the whole team was devoted in making the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. They went 42-40, capturing an eight-seed spot in the Western Conference. They shocked the world by knocking off the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks four games to two.
In 2009, the Warriors drafted Stephen Curry out of Davidson, but it wasn’t until the 2012-2013 season that they started to come together as a team for the first time in almost 20 years. They finished that season at 47-35, their first season over .500 since 2006, and made it to the second round of the playoffs as sixth-seed in the Western Conference.
For every Warrior on that team except for center, Andrew Bogut, it was their first playoff experience.
This young team came back the following year and went 51-31, and became a six-seed once again, but lost in the first round of the playoffs.
It wasn’t until the 2014-2015 season that the Warriors finally made a breakthrough, going 67-15, breaking records left and right, and eventually winning the NBA Championship for the first time since 1975.
Now, the Warriors hold the record for best regular season record, are the reigning NBA champions, and are currently in the semifinals of the playoffs, after beating the eighth-seeded Houston Rockets, and beating the fifth seeded Portland Trailblazers, both in five games.
Currently, point guard Stephen Curry is the MVP, but center Draymond Green was also in the running for MVP of the 2015-2016 season. Green was also a nominee for defensive player of the year and most improved player, along with Curry. Teammates Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston were also in the running for sixth-man of the year.
This young, star-studded team, shocked the world last year, and continues to live up to their title as the best team in the NBA.
This past year, the Warriors as a team averaged 114.9 points per game (first in the NBA), shot 41.6% from three-point range, and had a field goal percentage of 48.7%. These stats are insanely good considering the fact that it’s over the course of an 82 game season.
The amazing turnaround for the Warriors took years of rebuilding, as well as trial and error with different schemes and players. They went from being the laughing stock of the NBA, to one of the greatest basketball teams to step foot on a court.