After four long months, the NBA is finally back tonight, which is great if you love watching basketball, which I do, but is also very unfortunate for me because I’m a New York Knicks fan, and realize they’re probably never going to win a championship in my lifetime (go to hell, James Dolan). Besides watching my Knicks hopefully getting an eighth seed this year, the team I’m looking forward to watching the most, along with most people in the world, are the Golden State Warriors.
As the Cleveland Cavaliers won their first championship last season, the Warriors were the talk of the offseason when they went ahead and signed Kevin Durant to their team, that won a record 73 games during the regular season, and were on the cusp of winning their second straight championship last season. I was absolutely stunned when they got Durant, because I don’t think there’s any better way to rebound from a crushing Finals defeat than by signing one of the three best players in the world to your already dominant team, and I thought there was no way he was ever going to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder. By signing Durant, the Warriors have now become one of the most polarizing teams in the history of sports, which may seem like a stretch, but hear me out first.
A few years ago, the Warriors were the team that everyone loved, and that all started with Stephen Curry, who I would say was one of the most lovable athletes of my lifetime, and rightfully so. He is one of the most fun athletes to watch in any sport, and that’s because he seems pretty relatable to us regular people. He’s doesn’t have the physical stature of Lebron James or the athleticism of Russell Westbrook, but holy shit can that guy shoot a basketball. Basketball fans loved him when he was in college, and wanted his success to translate to the pros. After a few injury-riddled seasons for Curry, he was finally able to stay healthy and helped lead a young and fun Warriors team to two straight postseasons, including a first round upset of the Denver Nuggets in 2013. After a first round exit to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014, Curry had the year of his life in 2015, where he won the regular season MVP award and his first NBA Championship by defeating Lebron and the Cavs.
The Warriors were not only fun to watch because of Curry, but his backcourt running mate, Klay Thompson, can shoot the ball just as well as him, and the two of them became known as “The Splash Brothers,” while former second round pick Draymond Green became the engine that made the team go. Besides having a cocky swagger to him, he also plays hard nose basketball, but also has a nice offensive skill set to him as well. The following year when you thought it couldn’t get any better for the Warriors, they set an NBA record by winning 73 games, let me repeat that 73 GAMES, THEY WENT 73-9. THAT IS ABSURD. Even crazier was that Curry won his second straight MVP, and became the first ever unanimous MVP in the process, something Jordan, Magic, Russell, Bird, Wilt, or Lebron ever did. They proceed to cruise through the first two rounds of the Western Conference playoffs, where they faced a 1-3 deficit to Durant’s then Oklahoma City Thunder, but then rallied to win the next three games, including a thrilling Game 6 on the road, where they then went on to head to their second straight Finals appearance where they would again face the Cavs. They jumped out to a 3-1 and were on the brink of immortality and being the greatest team ever… and then Lebron happened.
Then Green couldn’t stop hitting people in the nuts, then Thompson called out Lebron in a press conference, then Curry got cocky, then Andrew Bogut got hurt, then Harrison Barnes couldn’t make a shot, then Irving made THE shot, then Lebron made the block heard around the world, and then the Warriors had blown a 3-1 Finals lead and started to became one of the most hated teams in the league. That didn’t change when Durant announced to the entire world that he was going to sign with them on July 4.
Now, while a majority of people are going to root against the Warriors this year, I am the opposite of that (though I’m still pulling for the Knicks like a goddamn idiot). In fact, I cannot WAIT to watch them this year. Unlike a large portion of basketball fans, I’m still a fan of the players on their team and I am beyond excited to watch them rain three-pointers on team for 82 games. I don’t like to take much stock in preseason, but from the few games I have seen them in the preseason has been absolutely fantastic. While they’re most likely going to have some early season chemistry issues, the way they were able to move the ball in the preseason was a thing of beauty.
I’ve heard a lot of talking heads say that they’ll have issues because there aren’t enough basketballs for everyone on the court, and while that may be true, I don’t think the Warriors would have gone out and signed Durant if they thought it was going to be an issue. I think Durant now just gives them another weapon to open up more shots for everyone, and yes, there will be nights during which Draymond doesn’t get the ball as much as he would like but I think this team only cares about winning titles; Curry even said so himself in the team’s free agent pitch to Durant.
So yeah, I want to see the Warriors do well this year. Call me a frontrunner if you will, I want to watch greatness. As much as I’d love to see my Knicks hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June, I’m not dumb enough to think that’s actually a realistic possibility. So do me a favor Warriors, and go out and win the title this year… just make sure you beat Lebron in the process because he’s an insufferable asshole.