“NBA & Dynasties”
So what defines an NBA dynasty?
Dominance. Devastating Firepower. Chemistry. Luck.
The NBA has had them in the past.
Red Auerbach built the first big one with the 1950s Boston Celtics, aided of course by a lopsided trade he made to get the rights to draft C-Bill Russell from the University of San Francisco. They surrounded him with great role players, from Bob Cousy to the Jones Boys, to a bench bunch that played bully boy.
The Lakers did a deal that brought them Wilt Chamberlain from the Philadelphia Warriors, where he joined Jerry West and Elgin Baylor. That was pretty dominant basketball, though Boston was always in the way each spring in the playoffs.
The second round of Lakers greatness came because Lew Alcindor wanted out of Milwaukee, and became the next cornerstone of a collection of star players.
Los Angeles duplicated it again by virtue of wheeling and dealing that netted them Magic Johnson in a deal that sent virtually nothing to the Utah Jazz. Here came Showtime.
And the Lake Show rebuilt again, with the arrival of big money Shaquille O’Neal and the trade with Charlotte that delivered teenage star Kobe Bryant, in the era before the NBA salary cap was put in place.
The Air Jordan era in Chicago was built around Portland’s failure to draft Jordan because of a foot injury, the arrival of small college star Scottie Pippen, a deal for Bill Cartwright and so many more acquisitions, aided by the brillance of Coach Phil Jackson.
Boston did it again after a dry spell with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and the blockbuster acquisition of the Big Chief, Robert Parish.
San Antonio and David Robison and Tim Duncan and all those European players dominated the Association in a short five year span..
Detroit gave us the rough and tumble ‘Bad Boys’ and a couple of titles too, with the fierceness of Isaih Thomas,Bill Laimbeer and the idiosyncracies of Dennis Rodman..
Where do you rate Golden State?
In a different era, where basketball is dominated by ‘mercenaries’ looking for their next paydays, an era where agents and players run the league, not Coaches-GMs or the Commissioner, the Warriors are an electric-eclectic group of players.
Star studded-selfless teammates. It’s that makeup that has allowed this Golden State franchise to go (73-9)..(67-15)..(67-15) and add on seasons of 58-57 wins.
But it is a different type franchise, led by guys who came out of nowhere to become someone. Davidson College, on the fringe of Division 1-basketball, delivered Steph Curry, whose DNA included a great shooting father Dell Curry.
Klay Thompson came from Washington State, son of a great center Mychael Thompson.
Draymond Green was surely not a first round pick, but evolved into a first rate leader, doing lots of dirty work.
Kevin Durant was here today-gone tomorrow, injured and in search of paydays, moving around the league like a soldier of fortune.
Buttressing all this was an array of journeymen, who came in to help win rings and hold the team together, from Andre Igwodala to Andrew Bogut, Shawn Livingston, DeMarcus Cousins and so many more.
The ‘Splash Brothers’ , Curry-Thompson, have carried this franchise thru the four NBA rings they have won in that eight year span. But instead of just taking tons of the shots, scoring lots of points, they evolved a game that made so many other players so dangerous to score. Just ask Boston what happened when Curry or Klay had a bad night.
In the middle of all this came devastating injuries that many thought would end the era. Curry and Thompson combined to have 4-major injuries in a two year span. Add Kevin Durant to a devastating injury list too, and you wonder how they rallied this team back. The hated word in the NBA might be Achillies or Foot or Knees. Golden State survived all that.
In this time frame, Warriors players took less money to keep the team together. Aside from Durant, no big names left.
The glue in all this Coach Steve Kerr, part coach, part psychologist, part genius.
He manages talents, ego, personalities, a very different culture from when he was a player, winning all those rings in Chicago and other places..
His career record is (429-200) at Golden State. Not bad for an assistant who was shoved into the job as an interim coach. He learned at the feet of Phil Jackson and Greg Popovich..
Curry bought in, took less money, became more than just a mad bomber. He became a spiritual leader, getting shots,making shots, driving-dishing and making other’s dangerous because of his own skill level.
At Golden State, it’s not about ‘me’…it’s about ‘us’. It’s Kerr’s team, Curry’s team and everybody’s team.
It would be fun to run a computer and see who would win if this Golden State team were to face one of the Lakers great rosters, matchup against Bird, face Duncan-Robinson in San Antonio, or go head to head with Phil Jackson’s Bulls.
But in an era of Max contracts, free agency, injuries, what the Warriors have done, 4-rings in 8-years, is as good as any other franchise from the different eras we have followed.
Dynasty-Warriors, you bet, as good as any of the others