by Fox Doucette
Are the Golden State Warriors any good? Well hmmmm, let me think about it for a minute. Hold on, this might take me awhile to decide, because…
…are you flipping kidding me? Of course they are! They’re the overwhelming favorite to win the title for the third time in four years, it’ll be 2019 before they run into potential contract trouble (when Klay Thompson might up and decide to take a max deal somewhere else because he’s tired of winning all the time and wants to be Raptors-era Chris Bosh for a change…)
So rather than make this a detailed examination of the strengths and weaknesses of a team that can easily run out two or three All-Stars at all times over the course of a 48-minute game, I will instead just throw out a bunch of stats that make your head spin and wonder aloud if they can win 80 games in a season.
2016-17 record: 67-15
2018 over/under: 67.5
Stop Calling Him A Mercenary
Kevin Durant just took less than the max ($25 million for 2017-18) because he found a home on a team that not only delivered him that title he wanted but made him feel wanted and a part of something greater.
For the love of the gods, which do you want? A guy who cares about winning or a guy who played on a team that was dysfunctional and couldn’t function as a team concept because Russell Westbrook, as good as he is, is a selfish me-first stathound who can’t sublimate his ego to the greater good?
If you traded Westbrook straight-up for Steph, Golden State’s chemistry would implode, while Steph and Paul George would make the conference finals and possibly win a title if you gave them one more decent piece (sorry, Steven Adams, that’s not you.)
I was just as “sellout” as everyone else when the deal went down. But the guy took less money so his team could win more. What more do you want?
Oh, and the whole 101 Defensive Rating and league-leading .278 Win Shares/48 minutes thing. Yeah.
Steph Gonna Steph
Sure, dude makes $34 million plus, but he is the only person in the history of the league to make 300 three-pointers in a year. Also the only person to make 400.
Fercrissakes, chew on that for a minute! We are witnessing a guy who will break Ray Allen’s record for career three-pointers in three, maybe four years at this rate! This is a guy for whom shooting 41.1 percent from beyond the arc was a terrible year!
The guy owns a 50/45/90 season, led the league in scoring at 30.1 a game in 2016, and led the league in steals that same year. And for all the speculation about his durability, he’s only missed an average of three games a year over the past five seasons, and most of those were DNP-Rest days because his team effectively clinched home court throughout the playoffs by St. Patrick’s Day.
In a down year, he managed .229 WS/48. Over a full season, he managed .318 in 2016. Pay the man.
Ain’t That A Kick in the Little Head
Go ahead, tell Draymond Green he’s not the best defender in basketball. He’ll kick you in the nuts.
How often does a power forward lead the league in steals like Dray did last year? How does a guy post a 99 Defensive Rating in the greatest offensive season in the history of the league? And since when is a 4.6 VORP guy only the third-best player on his team?
That’s your reigning Defensive Player of the Year right there, and you better recognize.
Klay Thompson Is The Fourth-Best Guy. Yes, Really.
Klay “I hung 60 on the Pacers just because I could” Thompson. A guy who made 268 three-pointers and was the second-best shooter on his own team from out there. Klay “Look at my .565 eFG%, ye mighty, and be amazed” Ozymandias motherf…
Shut yo’ mouth!
I’m only talkin’ ’bout Klay. Can you dig it?
Or, since this is the Warriors, CAN YOU DIG IIIIIIIT?
The guy makes $17.8 million. Dub Nation can only hope that’s enough for his taste if he keeps getting those rings.
Wait, They Added Swaggy P? Really?!
Oh well, if they could turn JaVale McGee from Shaqtin’ MVP into the first player in the history of your columnist’s alma mater to win an NBA championship (go Nevada Wolf Pack!), I suppose anything’s possible.
Or Steve Kerr will take Nick Young out back and kneecap him, followed by the team announcing that he’s “day to day” with “an unspecified lower body injury” like Kerr’s been talking to Bill Belichick.
It’s a Cole Porter song all up in here, folks. Anything goes.
Oh, and it should be noted that Young shot 40.4 percent from beyond the arc for the Lakers last year. So…yeah. Let’s just ignore the fact that last season was the first time in his career he had a positive VORP, hm?
Did We Mention the Whole Are-You-Kidding-Me Defense Thing?
Because the Warriors weren’t just No. 1 in Offensive Rating with all those three balls. They were No. 2 in Defensive Rating behind only the mighty Spurs.
Draymond was the anchor, but every player on this team, even Steph (whose reputation is that of a guy you need to hide on that end of the floor), got the job done. Golden State is the prime rib and pulled pork from Curry’s native North Carolina of the NBA’s culinary menu.
This call’s a slam dunk. It’s a prosecutor who caught a murderer in the act of stabbing a guy while yelling “I’m-a kill you!” in front of 50 witnesses getting a murder charge to stick. This is absolutely, only-saying-it-for-the-official-record Confirmed.