In a melodramatic turn of events it seems the Kevin Love sweepstakes could be inching close to a conclusion. Saddening that we'll have to do without the "Love" puns in Oracle Arena.
Whether it's propaganda from the Minnesota Timberwolves or not, for now the Golden State Warriors seem to be sitting on the outside looking in at what was speculated to be a golden opportunity for advancement.
It should be difficult to define "advancement" for the Warriors. They've recently upgraded to a coach that will have the ability to draw up a play in crunch time, and with not reaching the Western Conference Finals since 1976 they'll look to him for advanced wins.
Yet on social media, in barbershops and every other corner of the world where sports are discussed the main debate has been if the Warriors should package Klay Thompson in a trade. Even the Dubs front office itself has split hairs on whether or not to parachute him over to the Timberwolves in the interest of bringing Love out west.
There's a myriad of questions that surround that type of trade, regardless of whether it happens or not. Most importantly, does adding Kevin Love advance the Warriors further than the team being in good health? Debating both suggests the Warriors are doing something right - and right now. But it's possible their good deeds have been severely overshadowed by "superstar" talk.
The Warriors currently sit in a precarious position. Too good to stay out of the Western Conference semi's and too unfortunate in recent years to reach their full potential. I've never been a fan of the idea that one player's addition to a squad pushes a team over the top, and just as there's a blueprint for success in the league as a player, the same can be said for NBA teams.
There is in fact a recipe for championships, as outlined in an article originally written by Dennis Gallagher for 82games. Gallagher describes certain indicators that estimate a team's probability of bringing home Larry O'Brien hardware - indicators that prove all the Warriors have ever needed is health. Love isn't necessary.
First, over 90 percent of NBA Champions had an All-NBA 1st Team selection or top five player on the roster. The current Warriors have yet to scratch that off their checklist. Latrell Sprewell's 1994 selection was the last time a player in Warriors uniform was named to the first team. Stephen Curry's production last season was first team worthy, however the guard position is stacked with talent so he had to settle for second-team honors (although you can make an argument for Curry versus James Harden).
Kevin Love hasn't made it to the first team either. In two seasons (2011-12/ 2013-14) he's been a second-team selection, (while David Lee was a third team pick in the 2011-12 season), commensurate with his leading number of win shares for that season.
Production and honors for both Curry and Lee suggest that with a smidgen of extra production, the Warriors could have first and second team selection players on their roster. However, with Lee not appearing in more than seven playoff games in the last two Warriors post season appearances, All-NBA honors are nothing if you're broken down when the playoffs arrive.
Second, over 80 percent of NBA champions had an All-Defensive first team selection - check. When the three-team trade that sent Andre Igoudala to the Warriors was complete, Bob Myers knew the piece he added in Igoudala was vital to achieving a championship pedigree. Although he compiled a defensive rating of 103 last season Igoudala tied his career lows in steals (1.5) and blocks (.3) - that's scary as it says there's potential for Igoudala to perform better. He also appeared in only 63 games - only 1 more than his career low. Golden State can use some good health for Igoudala as well.
However Iguodala isn't the only Warriors player who knows how to play D. Every NBA championship roster included a top 10 caliber player or top 10 defender as a sidekick. Andrew Bogut has been stellar on the defensive end of the floor throughout his career. Last season he was sixth in blocks per game 1.8, second in defensive rating, second in defensive rebounding percentage, third in total rebounding percentage. Not to say Bogut is a sidekick to Curry (if anything that's Klay Thompson), but the defensive numbers are there. Even Draymond Green was seventh in the league last season in steal percentage (2.8).
Unfortunately Bogut hasn't played over 70 regular season games since his 2007-08 season. He's logged more playoff games (17) in a Warriors uniform than Lee, but Bogut's health and rim protection down low is essential for winning home-court advantage - something that hasn't appeared in Oracle Arena since the Warriors faced off against the Seattle Supersonics in the 1992 playoffs. Since a home team wins more than three out of every four series in the postseason, the team that starts a series on their home floor is typically the better team. If anything, good health is necessary to achieve the luxury of being at home.
Last, over 90 percent of NBA champions had a player ranked in the top eight in efficiency the preceding season - the majority of the checklist is now complete. Curry was eighth in efficiency ratings last season at 24.1. That's good enough to get the job done, and proves the Warriors are currently stacked to finally make a run in the Western conference.
The fact is that the NBA and its fans love to see trades. There's excitement that surrounds the idea of players swapping jerseys and the drama that surrounds it. It would be in the Warriors best interests to steady the course. They have the majority of what it takes to be a championship team. If statistics and NBA history proves anything, as it stands they don't need Kevin Love.