Golden State Warriors: The most unique dynasty in sports

Dan O'Shea

You’ve seen it all by now. After the Warriors’ dominance in this year’s playoffs, every single opinion has been recorded and beaten to death. Some say they’ve ruined the NBA, others think they’re the best team ever assembled. Many will try to rank them, but in reality, it’s impossible to compare their dynasty to any team in history. 

Everybody has a similar way to rank the best teams of all time. How many years they were together, who did they beat, how did they do it, and things of that nature. Each person may have those few lists in a different order, and some psychos may break out a few extra parts of the criteria in order to favor their favorite player or team (looking at you, LeBron fans), but essentially it comes down to one thing: rings. You can’t really build a dynasty without the hardware to back it up.

Or can you? They may not be the best, but we’ve never seen a dynasty like the one currently developing down by the Bay.

Before you start coming out of the woodwork and throwing the 1986 Celtics, the ’96 Bulls, the Showtime Lakers, or any team featuring LeBron while you become the lucky one millionth person to bring up the MVP they added this offseason, this isn’t putting the Warriors above any of your said teams, so put your pitchforks down. There will be plenty of things that will get you mad on the internet while experts like Stephen A. Smith or Skip Bayless talk about Durant’s current legacy in the same breath as LeBron or Jordan. While each and every team is different, no team has paved their own road into the conversation of a “dynasty team” like the Warriors.

Let’s look at the tale of the tape. In three years, the Warriors will have two championships, with one NBA Finals loss in between. That first year, Golden State was arguably the most fun team in the history of basketball. Curry would enter the state and you’d have to have someone guarding him man to man. Klay was the perfect second option, forming the Splash Brothers as the most lethal backcourt in the league. Even Draymond was viewed as one of the best draft steals in NBA history before he revealed his crane kicking habits, but we’ll get to that. It was that perfect moment in basketball where everybody liked them, bandwagoners hadn’t hit “purchase” when buying $200 worth of Warriors gear on NBA.com, and people were still too busy burying LeBron’s legacy. It was a beautiful start.

Warriors rings

 

Then came 2016. For some reason, the Warriors lost their lust. Maybe it was because Curry’s range got old. It could be because Riley Curry was no longer the adorable little kid who stole the stage a year ago. You can’t walk a full block without meeting someone who hates Draymond. The real reason is the fear of being a front runner. You’re either a bandwagon fan, or you hate the favorites. That’s the majority of casual basketball fans these days. The Warriors then lost, LeBron lived up to his promise to bring a title to Cleveland, and Durant joined the shooters cult forming by the Golden Gate Bridge. You know the rest.

When talking about a true dynasty, most believe you need multiple championships within a certain amount of years, with at least one back-to-back stretch to include them at the cool kid’s table. If this is included in your 10 commandments of basketball, then you won’t consider the Warriors a dynasty. Still, let’s not forget what happened that one year the Warriors didn’t win.

 


That’s right. Their worst year during this mini-run, they broke the record for most regular season wins of all time. Even though they didn’t win the Finals in a clean 16 game sweep, they still had the most impressive playoff run in the history of basketball by starting 15-0. These aren’t advanced statistics being thrown out. It’s not like we’re talking about the Warriors hitting the most threes in the month of June while the temperature hasn’t struck 90 degrees or anything insane like that. They’re the most dominant regular season team in history, and now the most dominant playoff team in history. Hard to argue with it, especially since the man who continuously stands in their way, agrees.

 

It has been such a long, strange trip for Golden State. One year, they reinvent the NBA, dominating with small ball lineups filled with studs they found in the draft. The next year they have the greatest season ever, just to fall short in one of the worst collapses ever. Then, they added KD and got exponentially better.

There has never been a team that has reached this level of greatness, all while changing this much over three years. Normally if a team is great, the story is over. They just mow through teams with the occasional league sweetheart interrupting their dominance and we call it a day. This team did not go through that same storyline.  The core is mostly the same, but the path is filled with more twists and turns than a Stephen King novel. Even their trip this year isn’t as typically boring as we make it out to be.

 

During past dynasties, we’ve never seen success, a collapse, or an improvement like this team experienced.

It does not matter where you place the Warriors in history. You can love them more than you love your parents, or you can still beat the “they needed an MVP to take down LeBron” narrative, it simply does not matter, because it isn’t what makes this team beautiful. We all complain about having the same NBA Finals matchup three years in a row, but have we really appreciated how we got here? Yea, it’s the same matchup, but appreciate the journey instead of just looking at the big picture.

You can say their constant appearance during June while you’re looking for an excuse to not watch baseball is boring and repetitive, but stop your slander there. Everything about this team, from their style of play to their history all the way down to their roster makeup, is unique.

Love them or hate them, appreciate them as the once in a lifetime team that they are, because there never has been, and never will be, a team like this.

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