“Warriors… Come Out To Play-ee-ay!!” – The Resurgence of the Golden State Warriors

Source: https://www.forbes.com/teams/golden-state-warriors/

Source: https://www.forbes.com/teams/golden-state-warriors/

Rohan Borges, Staff Writer

Ladies and gentlemen, it might be safe to finally say it: The Golden State Warriors are back. Just two seasons ago, many questioned if the dynasty was over, if they’d ever return to being the unparalleled force that once ruled over the NBA. But while the Warriors were buried at the bottom of the Western Conference and the rest of the league savored witnessing the crumbling of a superpower, Golden State was in the kitchen cooking up a recipe for a return to dominance, and we are watching it all unfold before our very eyes. 

Yes, the season is young, and the Dubs have enjoyed a bit of a favorable schedule up until this point, but it would be criminal to deny how impressive the squad has looked. An eighth of the way into the season, the Warriors sit atop the Western Conference at 11-2, rank first in the league in defensive rating, and are top three in offensive rating as well. Oh, not to mention — they are patiently waiting on the return of James Wiseman and All-Star guard Klay Thompson.

Of course, many have jumped the gun and labeled the Warriors title favorites as they have surely made a compelling case, but this unit is very reminiscent of some of the early dynastic crews. They don’t possess that aura of invincibility that the Kevin Durant powerhouse Warriors sported every time they stepped onto the court. Rather, this team is playing with that swagger, pace, and joy that the unassuming 2014-15 Warriors played with. Stephen Curry is playing some of the best ball of his life, Draymond Green continues to anchor the best defense in the league, and the Dubs flaunt an arsenal of swingmen both in the first five and on the bench, that fit seamlessly into the free-flowing system that some have to come to adore. 

As the great Shaquille O’Neal always says, Stephen Curry has made it look “Steph-ortless” as he continues to dazzle, already having posted two 40+point performances to go along with a 50-point outburst through only 13 games. However, a critical part of the Warriors success has been the emergence of the supporting cast. 

The “others” for the Warriors have all excelled in their roles and propelled this team far beyond their pre-season expectations. Jordan Poole, whose rapid ascension has been extraordinary, has truly embraced the role of backcourt mate to Steph Curry, and though Poole will likely migrate to the second unit once Klay Thompson returns, he’s earned the green light from head coach Steve Kerr to really spread his wings. Andrew Wiggins has remained a solid offensive weapon, while Damion Lee has been masterful playing off the ball. Kevon Looney is a defensive force on the interior. Gary Payton II and Nemanja Bjelica have also proven to be outstanding snags for the Warriors in free agency. Payton II, aka “The Mitten,”  has presented the Warriors with a shutdown perimeter defender, which should come as no surprise given that his father, Gary Payton earned the nickname, “The Glove,” for his peskiness on that end of the floor. Yet, GP2 has also been given the opportunity to show off his freaky athleticism, providing the Dubs with an open-court weapon and a perfect lob threat for Draymond and Steph off of their constant screen-setting offense. Bjelica has added a cooling presence to the half-attack and has demonstrated a high level of understanding for the game in big time moments. Plus, the additions of veterans Otto Porter Jr. and Andre Iguodala have only built on the treasure trove of depth that the Warriors have enjoyed. Truth be told, the Dubs run so unbelievably deep, that their two lottery picks, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, have barely cracked the rotation.

One aspect of the team that has delighted head coach Steve Kerr, has been the Warriors improved rebounding. In an interview with KNBR, Kerr noted that, “The rebounding has kind of been a pleasant surprise to be honest … I think it’s frankly an indication of playing veteran groups, Kevon [Looney] is just fantastic in there boxing out, he may not end up getting the rebound but he’s taking out the guys who would be getting offensive boards, which allows Steph and other guys to come in and grab the long rebounds, so I just feel like we’ve got a real veteran group.”

The sentiment is clearly supported by the statistics as the team currently slots in at 2nd in the league in rebounds per game and Curry, often the shortest guy on the floor, is averaging a career high 6.3 boards per game. 

The Golden State Warriors have shocked the NBA world with a speedy resurrection and through 13 games they seem to be emerging as a true challenger to capture the O’Brien trophy. Steph and Dray are conducting the orchestra as expected, but the front office and coaching staff deserve tremendous credit for assembling a group that fits into Steve Kerr’s system like a hand in a glove. 

Two years ago, when the Warriors were at their lowest, all anyone could do was point and laugh at the ‘villains’ of the league finally hitting bottom. Yes, maybe from the public viewpoint it seemed as if that season was a throwaway and the games were meaningless. But for the Warriors, those 20-point blowout losses were invaluable. Those games allowed guys like Jordan Poole, Damion Lee, Juan Tuscano-Anderson and Andrew Wiggins to familiarize themselves with the offense so that when the band was back together and healthy they were prepared. Now, we are witnessing the fruits of their labor. The Golden State Warriors are the greatest show in sports, and with Wiseman and Klay on the way, the best is yet to come.