Over the last four seasons, the Golden State Warriors had just one major slip-up.
Leading the Cleveland Cavaliers 3-1 in the 2016 NBA Finals, they lost the next three games and blew the series.
Partly because Draymond Green got suspended and partly because Kevin Durant wasn’t yet on their team, the Warriors were unable to defend their 2015 title despite going a NBA record 73-9 in the regular season.
But, after winning titles in back-to-back seasons since Durant joined the team that summer, Golden State is now the closest thing the sports world has to a dynasty. Three titles in four years is not something that is typically done in any sport at any level.
What’s most depressing to the rest of the league is that the Warriors’ core will most likely all return next season. Not only that, but the big four of Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have all proven to be generous individuals who put winning above everything else.
Perhaps it’s that reason that creates a very realistic possibility for Golden State to enjoy a prolonged dominance that hasn’t been seen in the NBA over the last few decades.
History in the making
Warriors president Rick Welts believes that this team is extremely special and has a whole world of possibilities ahead.
“We’re seeing basketball being played differently at a different level than we ever have before. We all should be celebrating that,” Welts recently told Mark Medina of The Bay Area News Group. “I know and understand 29 other teams may not feel exactly the same way. But for basketball fans, this is another golden era.”
Even though the Warriors and Cavs have met in each of the past four Finals, Welts believes that fans are being positively impacted by Golden State’s success.
“It’s going to impact the next generation in terms of being fans of basketball and the NBA,” Welts said. “There’s a bigger mission here than winning a championship. This team is really impacting the future of basketball. … The biggest thrill was to see Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain come in and have a glimpse at the greatness. This notion that there were too many Boston-LA series? That to me is unfathomable. Anybody who’s in the sport celebrates greatness. That’s what we’re all about.”
At the end of the day, Welts, who has been involved in the NBA for his entire professional life, believes that people will look back and place these Warriors teams along with the all-time greats.
“Impossible to have that perspective today. But I’m optimistic that this team will be remembered the same way as those great Boston teams and the Laker teams,” Welts noted. “We haven’t written the end of the story. So we don’t know how it’s going to end. But the opportunity is there.”
Until proven otherwise, there’s no reason to doubt that assumption.