With the Golden State Warriors off to an 11-0 start to their season with the opportunity to set a new record for most consecutive wins to begin a season, the conversation about whether they'll repeat as NBA champions has changed a bit: they are now considered the favorites by almost any reasonable person, even if there are legitimate arguments about whether a challenger could take them down.
There are some pretty simple reasons for that: Stephen Curry is so good that it might sound reasonable to some people to intentionally foul him to cool him off, it appears the Warriors have gotten better as a team this season and they are off to the hottest start ever, according to Neil Paine of FiveThirtyEight Sports.
So that begs a question: what are your baseline expectations for the Warriors' season? Is it title or bust?
Zach Links asked me that question in a recent Q&A published at Hoops Rumors and this is the answer I came up with:
Hoops Rumors: Where is the expectation level for Warriors fans now? Is it title-or-bust?
Nate Parham: I think that depends on who you talk to. I think this whole thing is still sort of surreal for most people. Since the late '70s, it's not just that the Warriors didn't make the playoffs much, it's that they were never close to being a contender. Again, you sort of just have to appreciate the fact that the team is in the mix. I think another title would just be gravy at this point.
The West is tough, LeBron has a pretty easy path through the East, and there are a number of variables that could work against the Warriors this year that would lead to falling short. I fully expect this team to repeat, but if they don't, there's no reason that this group can't grow from the experience and contend again next season. To me, it's about continuing to grow and making moves to keep themselves at the top for as long as possible rather than winning every single year. It's always interesting to note that the Spurs have never won back-to-back titles despite being considered one of the top franchises in all of U.S. pro sports.
And I meant every word of that: yes, I expect the Warriors to win another title; no, I wouldn't be devastated if they didn't win a second straight title after a 40-year drought form the NBA Finals and suffering through The Dark Ages (however you define that). I just want to see them do what they have to do to reach that San Antonio Spurs perennial contender dynasty status.
Either way, with us all anticipating many more deep runs through the playoffs, Tony.psd came up with some new art that we put on a t-shirt with the help of our friends at BreakingT to celebrate the Warriors' newfound dynasty aspirations with as a community:
We liked the design for a few reasons, but mostly the incorporation of the GSoM logo into the image of the NBA trophy that we hope to see in the Bay Area for many years to come and, personally, I think there's no better image to represent what it means to have a Golden State of Mind in 2015.
You can click here to buy this shirt at BreakingT and represent the Warriors' championship mentality and this UNSTOPPABLE community. Even better, we've talked as a staff about coming up with t-shirts for our group trip to Sacramento for the Warriors' game against the Sacramento Kings on January 9th — it would be great for folks headed to that game to have these shirts to represent who we are and where our team is going.
As I often tell Bram Kincheloe, troll hard or not at all.
So check out the poll below and be sure to get a shirt.
(If you still haven't gotten tickets for that Kings game yet, there are still discounted tickets available in sections 223 and 224 and you can still get those by clicking here to reserve tickets with us today!)