By Sam Stack
For Warriors’ fans, it’s been years since they have gotten to see their team hoist a championship, but so far this season it looks like it’s Golden State’s time. On pace for over seventy wins and the best record in the N.B.A., the Warriors have been demolishing teams with lights out shooting and shut down defense, and in the process are bringing hope to fans’ eyes that hasn’t been present in a very long time.
Throughout past seasons the Warriors have found themselves in the playoffs, but never being able to make a deep run. Although recent rosters have been filled with talent and all-stars, it’s always ended up in a product of frustrating, but promising mediocrity.
“They always win a lot of games, there’s no doubt there, but the question is, how far are they going to make it in the playoffs?” sophomore Francesco Macayan said.
Unfortunately, the answer to that question to that question is not very far. The Warriors have not made it past the conference semi-finals since the 1975 season, the last time a championship made its way to Oakland.
The most recent trip to the postseason was last year that included a first round matchup against their significant rival, the Los Angeles Clippers. Yet the end of the series ended up in a game 7 loss for the Warriors. A loss leading to the firing of head coach Marc Jackson, a move that most fans questioned.
“Losing to them was hard for everyone, that was definitely a series that they should have won,” Macayan said.
The continued demoralizing endings are tough for the team itself, but can also be rough for the fans as well. In the Bay Area there are two teams for every major sports for fans to root for but there is only one team for NBA fans and that is the Warriors. A main component on why the Warriors’ fans are some of the most heralded fans in sports.
“They’re the best fans in sports, when we play at home and the crowd gets going, it makes us that much harder to beat and that shows in our record,” assistant coach Luke Walton said.
Walton, who was brought in along with new, rookie head coach Steve Kerr is helping to implement a new system that has proved very successful and led the Warriors to an NBA best 34-6 record.
“Even though he’s never coached before, he has a phenomenal idea of what it takes to win. He’s played under some of the greatest coaches in the history of the game and he’s taken a little bit from each of them and combined it into his own style,” Walton said.
Kerr, who played in the NBA for 17 seasons for the Cavaliers, Bulls, and the Spurs also played under some of the greatest coaches of all time including Lenny Wilkens, Phil Jackson, and Gregg Popovich, 3 of the winningest coaches of all time.
Kerr’s early success has brought a new sense of hope and triumph to a fanbase that has not experienced glory in many years. Some fans would say it hasn’t been this gratifying since the 2007, ‘We Believe’ season when the Warriors upset the number one seed Dallas Mavericks as the eighth seed in the first round of the playoffs. But like Warriors’ playoff trends, they failed to win in the next round.
“From then on they’ve always been right there but there has always been one team that’s better,” Macayan said.
For the Warriors this season may not need believing and judging by the win column there is no team better. The Warriors own the best record in the league and are utterly dominating their competition. They rank first in points per game, assists per game, field goal percentage, point differential, and hold opposing teams to the worst field goal percentage in the league.
It hasn’t just been the team in general, there has been individual standouts such as Steph Curry, who will be starting in the all star game. Curry is lighting up the stat sheet with 23 points and 8 assists per game. Along side Curry is Klay Thompson, who is having a breakout season and will likely be on the All Star roster as well.
Up and down the lineup the Warriors have the ability to beat opponents due to the fact the bench for the Warriors ranks in the top 25 percent in efficiency.
“Everyone supports everybody and when you get a team full of guys playing like that, that also happens to be one of the most talented teams in the league. It’s definitely a recipe for success,” Walton said.
The success is showing too, the Warriors just recently pulled off a season sweep of the Houston Rockets, currently the five seed in the Western Conference, with a point differential of an astonishing 61 points in 4 games. The Rockets aren’t the only team to fall victim to a Warrior onslaught as the Warriors steamrolled the Denver Nuggets by 43 points in a game where every single player on the active roster scored.
Although the Warriors are showing dominance during the regular season, the fate of the whole season lies in their performance in the playoffs. In order to reach The Finals, Golden State would have to weave itself through a loaded Western Conference filled with powerful teams.
When it comes to be time for the Playoffs, the Warriors’ biggest weapon may not be Curry or Thompson, it may be the faithful fans that yearn for a championship and fill Oracle Arena every single night.
“When we play at home and when we get that crowd going it makes us that much harder to beat and that shows, between the talent and energy it’s tough place to come in and win,” Walton said.
Between the excellent defense, great shooting, brilliant passing, and a Bay Area fanbase that shows up every night to provide a great atmosphere, one thing is for certain. There is no doubting the Golden State Warriors this season.
“This year is definitely the best chance for a championship, this could be that year,” said Macayan.