Greatest Team Ever???
*Photo via USA Today
Dear NBA teams,
You should be embarrassed with what the Golden State Warriors have been able to do to you. Granted they are the defending world champions, but you guys are making this team look like the greatest team we have ever seen in all of basketball. They are the Harlem Globetrotters and you are looking like the Washington Generals. Every time I watch a Golden State team, I hear that " Sweet Georgia Brown" track in my head. Warriors have started 19-0, the best ever by an NBA team or championship team. Forget the Bulls record 72 wins in a season, the way this team is going, they are trying to win 80 games. And all this with their coach, Steve Kerr out resting his back after having surgery this summer. Assistant Luke Walton has stepped in and done a great job. I can hear Bill Walton with his "Waltisms" talking about Luke is the greatest coach on the face of this universe. Young Walton will be getting a coaching job next year whether it’s the NBA or College basketball. He has done a magnificent job filling in for Kerr and special shout out goes to the Warrior's players for still going hard even though the " substitute teacher" is in control of the classroom.
The reigning league MVP, Steph Curry is off to an incredible start averaging 31.6 points per and shooting 44% from three point land. Harrison Barnes has stepped his game up in a free agent year ( he is trying to get paid), Draymond Green is taking it up to another level, bringing the ball up a little bit and leading the team in assists (7.1) as a point forward. Finals MVP Andre Iguodala is shooting threes at a high rate. Their bench is putting in work also, and the scary thing is Klay Thompson hasn't really found his shooting stroke yet. It seems every shot they take goes in, especially from three. Steph Curry's golden touch has rubbed off on everybody. Average to poor three point shooters are becoming high level three point shooters. It's raining threes out there for this team. It is the Warrior's small lineup that either extends leads or takes over leads. Their lineup of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green is a huge problem for the league. This was the same lineup that Steve Kerr went to in the finals when Golden State was down 2-1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. It eventually won them the NBA championship.
The defending champions, Golden State Warriors have elevated their game while the rest of the NBA (especially the Western Conference) has not stepped up to the challenge. The fact that they let the Warriors especially Steph Curry shoot three pointer after three pointer after three pointer and hoping it doesn't go in is embarrassing. Let me quote the greatest defender the league has ever seen and legendary hall of famer Bill Russell. " Basketball is a game of habits, if you make the other guy deviate from his habits, you've got him" Basically what this means in regards to Golden State, don't let them shoot three pointers. Don't let Steph Curry shoot threes. Curry shooting threes is like Jordan, Wilt and Shaq dunking the ball. Force him to drive preferably to his right side. Time after time I watch these teams just watch him shoot the ball and if not him the rest of the Warriors. I have seen Steph get open shots and I ask myself, don't you have to play defense on the MVP of the league??? Maybe a body, hand or contest the shot? Basketball isn't that hard you know.
*Photo via Getty Images
I know, I know, there is a lot more that goes into why the Warriors are so open at the three point line with all the help defensive concepts but hey sometimes you have to keep your man in front of you with no help. And usually what Golden State does when Curry brings up the ball, they have Draymond Green or Andrew Bogut set a pick on the left side where Steph is more comfortable stepping into the shot. And most of the times it's an open shot ( I don't know why). And if a team hard hedges or traps that pick and roll to force it out of his hands, Steph Curry will usually pass it to Draymond Green who becomes the point guard, so to speak and makes a pass to the other Warriors, whether it's a three or alley-opp. That's how Draymond gets all his assists. If I can see this, why can't all the other NBA teams who get paid zillions of dollars see this? Where is the scouting report teams, analytics or whatever. They need to step their game up. When I was growing up playing ball, I was told, cut the head of the snake and the body will fall. I am in shock that these NBA teams don't double or take the ball out of Steph Curry's hands and when he doesn't have the ball, face guard him (forgetting the concept of eyes on ball and man) and make sure you switch on all picks preventing him from shooting a three pointer or at least having a body and hand in his face.
Out of all the Warrior games I have watched, there were a couple teams that actually had a great (common sense) game plan against Golden State. The first was the Brooklyn Nets, they doubled and trapped Steph Curry and made sure they had a man, body and hand in his face at all times. Curry had a bad shooting night (13-31) and if it wasn't for a bad call here (referee not giving coach Lionel Hollins a time out call) not fouling while up 3 points (Iguodala tied the game with a three pointer with 4 seconds remaining in the game) and Brook Lopez not making an easy alley oop layup with .4 seconds to go, Nets would have won that game. The Chicago Bulls were another team I saw that had an impressive game plan playing the Warriors. It was a close game but they eventually lost. Most of the other teams were dreadful when it came to game planning for Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors The worst was the Los Angeles Clippers. These guys always seem to give up games when the pressure is at its highest. They were up 10 points in both games in the 4th quarter (including a 23 point lead) in the first half of November 19th match up and ended up losing. They let the Warriors go mad with three pointers everywhere and the game was over. Another Clipper cough up and collapse.
*Photo via USA Today
At the end of the day, I can only see a few teams beating this Warrior's team unless the rest of the NBA catches on. The San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers (all depending on health). Its funny how the Spurs and Thunder don't play Golden State until late January/early February but that's another story. The Spurs have the overall team (offense and defense) and smarts to beat the Warriors while the Thunder have the explosive 1-2 punch in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and have a puncher's chance. And the Cavs have Lebron James, still to this day, the best player in the league in my humble opinion. I know a whole lot of basketball fans have jumped on that Steph Curry bandwagon as the best player but it's still the King and with a healthy Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, it would have easily been the Cleveland Cavaliers as the defending champions. In the meantime, enjoy what the Warriors are doing because I doubt they will be another team that will start off with a 19-0 record (still counting). Looking at their schedule, they have a 7 game road trip with a couple of tough teams. If they survive this trip, then they might actually tie the Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls record of 72 wins.