NBA – Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors, winners of the Boston Celtics, a dynasty apart

NBA - Stephen Curry's Golden State Warriors, winners of the Boston Celtics, a dynasty apart

And one, and two, and three… and four NBA championship titles for Stephen Curry’s Warriors. Four rings in eight years. Four rings in six finals. But the trophy won last night on the floor of the Celtics necessarily holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the main protagonists. The emotion of the moment even makes us want to say that it is the most beautiful. “This one is different, that’s for sure. Especially considering the last three years“, admits the superstar, freshly elected MVP.

Curry and his partners have come a long way. They are back on top. It hasn’t been long since they gave up their throne. Their loss to the Raptors dates back to 2019. Yet sometimes that seems so far away. There was COVID-19. The Disney bubble. And of course the injuries. Those of Klay Thompson – tearing of the cruciate ligaments then rupture of the Achilles tendon – but also of his two All-Star comrades.

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Two years back, Golden State ended the season with the worst record in the league. Kevin Durant went to Brooklyn. Shaun Livingston quit. Andre Iguodala was transferred before returning later, in a role closer to that of assistant coach than player. In the meantime, leaders have begun to anticipate the future by compiling draft picks and young players like James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga – who was 12 when the Californians were crowned in 2015 – Jordan Poole or Moses Moody.

They continued to believe in their trio of glorious veterans but without taking the risk of completely mortgaging the future of the franchise. What has not always been very well perceived by the staff or even the executives of the group. But they all came together behind a common goal: to prove that getting back to the top was possible. To prove that it was too early to bury this team.

Stephen Curry #30, Klay Thompson #11 and Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors celebrate after defeating the Portland Trail Blazers 114-111 in game two of the NBA Western Conference Finals at ORACLE Arena on May 16, 2019 in Oakland

Credit: Getty Images

Many people doubted us. We used it to continue. I have an elephant’s memory, I don’t forget. It gives a really special flavor to this title“, confides Thompson.”We heard all the conversations about our team and what we were capable of doing. We carried that with us. So of course, it’s special“, adds Curry. In fact, this title of the Warriors is a bit reminiscent of that of the Spurs in 2014. The contexts are not quite the same since San Antonio had not won for seven years before going to the end But it is in both cases formations driven by the same hard core of players drafted then developed by the franchise.

The Warriors forever in history

The other common point is obviously the dynamic aspect of the performance. Again, four rings in eight years. With such a particular game, all in motion. Exactly inspired in part by the Spurs of 2014. They dictate the codes in the NBA but that does not prevent them from playing differently from other teams, which nevertheless take example. Kerr and his assistants emphasize collective, increased ball circulation, non-carrying screens, small ball, etc. But also on defense. In twenty years, basketball fans may remember mainly the offensive cards of the Splash Brothers. While their success is first on the other side of the floor. Normally, at this level, it is the attacker who imposes the balance of power. Against the Warriors it’s the opposite and that’s what makes them special.

It is also a characteristic that brings this team closer to the greatest in history. Stephen Curry and his teammates can ignite an encounter like Magic Johnson’s “Showtime” Lakers and lock down opponents like Jordan’s Bulls. Be careful, that does not mean that they are stronger. But this fourth coronation propels them into the course of the great dynasties of American basketball. With Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and therefore San Antonio.

You have to give a lot of credit to Steph, Klay and Draymond for what they have built. They will still be quoted in a hundred years“, assures Iguodala. So dynasties, by definition, they are part of time… before they die out one day. It’s already been going on for eight years. It’s probably not over. Because by participating to this victorious campaign, the Pooles, Kuminga and company can learn at the highest level. In the hope of one day perpetuating this dominance. Maybe they will not win next year. But they have proven that the window remained open for probably two or three years if everyone stays healthy. Then, who knows…

All our titles are unique and special. This one is perhaps the most unlikely. We faced a lot of injuries and unknowns. Clay, Draymond, Steph. We had a new group with young players around our hard core. But it’s really special to see guys like Wiggins, Looney, Gary Payton or Jordan Poole having such an impact.“, acknowledges Kerr.

Playing on two tables, the development of talents and the title, is an almost unique mission in the history of sport. The Warriors followed this path, not sure where it would lead them. “Everything ended up paying off. There was a lot of crying. We knew it was a possibility [de gagner à nouveau] but for it to become a reality… it’s crazy“, concludes Klay Thompson. Crazy, but how beautiful. And big. Very big.

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