In the locker room after the Golden State Warriors' 119-69 rout of the Memphis Grizzlies, interim coach Luke Walton lightened up the room with a joke about Steve Kerr losing his job to his replacement. Assistant general manager Kirk Lacob did the same during the GSOM Night Q&A.
Draymond Green talked a bit about how this start was about as good as expected while Stephen Curry could barely keep a slight grin off his face as he looked forlornly off into the distance while enumerating about the Wednesday matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers. Other than that, it was business as usual for the Warriors yet again. On a night they demolished their once-Bogeyman team by 50 entire points, the Warriors treated it like any other game.
That is just blatantly ridiculous.
The Golden State Warriors are the best team in the world playing the best basketball we have ever seen. It's hard to know what else to say.
There are moments in each team's season that signify growth, development, and sometimes, all the signs of a special season. Earlier this year, Klay Thompson dropped 37 in a quarter and every single person who paid witness could feel something rumbling within the depths of old Oracle Arena. It didn't necessarily have to end with a trophy but it all happened so quickly, we sometimes forget to simply lay back and bask in the glory of what a truly special and dominant team can do when it's angry and playing at a level unlike any other.
Last night's game itself was a microcosm of the playoff series between the two teams when Golden State went down 2-1 and had to rediscover themselves before knocking Memphis out in quick fashion. After an intense first quarter featuring a back-and-forth scoring contest between two muddled defenses grabbing and holding, the Warriors finally broke apart behind a suffocating trap and recover deflection fest and an offense predicated on nonstop off-ball picks.
Why is this happening? Why are the Warriors so locked in despite an offseason filled with celebrations, pomp and circumstance? You can thank the rest of the league, with most picking someone other than them to win the championship, and others tabbing them as lucky to even win one in the first place. Is it a little overblown? Absolutely. Does it matter to the players who are torching perfectly good teams like the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies en route to a 4-0 start? Not in the slightest.
So another special season begins, and now we know who they are, and what they should be able to do. Yet there's still a mysteriousness involved with the destruction these Warriors are leaving in their wake: this isn't and shouldn't be their final form.
While other teams are slowly regaining trust and shaking off rust, the Warriors have casually turned on a higher level of motivation and energy. None of these elite teams the Warriors blow out in the early portion of the season (looking at the Los Angeles Clippers coming up) will play this bad when it matters but if the assumption remains that the Warriors are still evolving, just how much better can all of this become? It's scary to think about, a team without one of the league's beat coaches and defensive centers, is still deep enough to crush opponents with zero regard for legal repercussions. The Golden State Warriors heard everything everyone said, took it a bit too personally, and are now unleashing the kind of pain reserved for terrible Eli Roth flicks.
And as much as I, amongst many others, have lavished praise upon Stephen Curry, this game also exemplified the type of depth, of talent, the overall intelligence, the sheer power of the Warriors that simply bury opposing teams. There are many teams in the NBA that are much more athletic as a whole than the defending champions. Harrison Barnes is likely the most physically gifted Warrior but isn't exactly a leap-out-the-gym guy. Instead, their starting lineup and bench consists of basketball players that know exactly where to be on the floor, when to take or pass the ball, and the highest IQ and trust on a team this side of the San Antonio Spurs.
If the notion of decision-making is considered talent, the Warriors are swimming in it.