So hey in case you missed it, the Warriors won 67 games en route to winning the damn championship last season.
I know. I'm still in shock too.
And as we meddle through this troublesomely slow August—the end times of NBA news—I got to thinking about next year. There's only so much celebrating can be done. The champagne all runs out eventually.
So, here's a simple question:
How many games will the Warriors win next year?
Will they win 67 again? Hit that fabled mark right on the nose?
Or will they surpass last year's achievements? Will they contend for the 72 win plateau set by the (maybe best team of all time) 1995-1996 Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls?
Or will they suffer from the common malaise of "second-album syndrome," where, after achieving unimaginable levels of success, they inevitably shirk off slightly. Inevitably lessen the work load. Bask in the glory a little too much.
Will there be games next season where Steve Kerr looks in the mirror and murmurs, "Holy Shit. How did we lose to damn Sixers?!"
While we ponder this question, let's dive into some stats.
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Alright then, time for some #STATS.
That fabled '96 Bulls team went 72-10 and had a winning percentage of .878. Hey now.
For comparison, last year's Warriors team went 67-15 with a winning percentage of .817. Still pretty good. They were only the 10th team to ever win 67 games. Of those 10, eight won the championship (with the only exceptions being the 72-73 Boston Celtics, who lost in the Eastern Conference Finals, and the 06-07 Mavericks who lost to the WARRIORS YEAH BABY WOOOOOO WOOOOOO LOVE YOU 4EVER DON NELSON!!). The Warriors, by winning 16 games over the course of the playoffs, joined the rarefied 83-win-season-club. Only ever teams to do that? Yup. Those damn Bulls. The '97 team won 84 total games and the '96 won a whopping 87 total games.
But, we got ahead of ourselves. Here's the basketball-reference chart with the top ten regular seasons in the NBA.
((#LOL at "3PA" statline.))
Also, here's the full list of best seasons ranked by winning percentage, from Wikipedia (with interesting notes on each team, etc).
While this article only aims to guess what the Warriors regular season win total will be next year, perhaps the proper comparison is right there in front of us. There's something about the Bulls follow up year, in 1996-1997, the year after they set the 72 win mark.
Perhaps that's the best hope for this upcoming year's Warriors team.
The '97 Bulls still won 69 games, only three less than the year before.
They still won the title, winning 15 games in the playoffs.
Win another title? Only lose a few more games? Still sipping champagne. Still singing ditties on the parade float.
Sounds pretty dang good.
However, who knows?
The Warriors are young, and they're only getting better. Harrison Barnes has another gear and will be playing for a new contract. Stephen Curry can still get better (which should f'ing TERRIFY the rest of the league). Klay Thompson is really just coming into his own. The only players who could potentially see any sort of downturn/regression in their games are Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala.
I know I'm tempting fate and invoking the potential wrath of basketball gods everywhere (please don't smite me), but hell, I think the Warriors could be even better this next year.
Time will tell.
The bottom can always fall out. Anyone who has watched Steph play over the entirety of his career is always afraid that...
Shit, you know what? I'm not even gonna.
That's all I'll say. The bottom can always fall out.
Anyways, vote in the poll and leave your opinion in the comments.
I'm curious what everyone thinks about this.