When teams are said to "play the right way", most often vaguely pontificate about the extra pass, team chemistry, and the unspoken aspect of whether the players on said team are likable human beings. There's no specific rubric with which we gauge how a basketball team can create and add on to perfect basketball. Perfect basketball of course being that the kind others can merely aspire to become, to imitate, but hopelessly coming up short and watching breathlessly as the opposing team trudges on in joyful precision. The Golden State Warriors are perfect basketball personified and two more reasons popped up Wednesday night.
After the game, Kerr remarked, after an Ethan Strauss question, that Klay Thompson's personality made him one of the better second options that a team could have.
"Klay doesn't seem to have a care in the world. And that translates a lot of different ways. It doesn't bother him too much when he's missing shots. It also means he's fine taking a backseat to Steph."
The Warriors offense, and defense for that matter, are so elite and all-time fanstical is because the pieces fit perfectly like a puzzle. If a piece is missing, unlike the Spurs, they are unable to hold down the fort as to the perfect portrait they're forever etched across. And it all works because each player is willing to work within that piece of the puzzle, not trying to stretch too far from where they stand, shoot out of their realm, and in Thompson's case, complaining when he isn't getting as many shots or looks as before, especially now that Draymond Green is the second option in the offense.
In Wednesday night's 127-107 win, Thompson reminded us that he is just as great as any scorer in the league, the second-best shooter in the world, and able to effortlessly drop 45 points on 20 shots. It was Steph-esque. What was even more interesting was that Klay didn't bother taking heat check after heat check, instead eschewing jumpers he'd usually force up when hot to take more measure and reasonable shots. All in all, reminding us that the gravity of Thompson is nearly as great as Curry's, and his role as integral to the Warriors as anyone else's.
The second part is the Warriors' uniqueness to offer themselves as the place of comfort for everyone involved. There's little to no awkwardness and lack of camaraderie on and off the court. As written ad nauseam, the relationship between Bob Myers and Steve Kerr is not that of work acquaintances but of best friends off of it. The players hang out with each other the moment they get off the plane on road trips all the way back home. And against the Dallas Mavericks, the Warriors broke in a rookie in a home game against a Western Conference playoff team.
Kevon Looney checked in with about 5 minutes left in the first half, with Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry on the floor, and most shockingly, just a six-point game on the scoreboard. While he didn't do much, he wasn't awful. Looney's wingspan allowed him to grab rebounds and he later scored on an isolation play drawn up by Luke Walton.
After the game, Looney admitted to the media that he had never played with Curry or Thompson on the floor, not even in practice. The fact that Kerr trusted and was willing to throw a player this green into that system in this type of game showed the level of comfort, of sustainability, and of greatness that the Golden State Warriors are achieving and what everyone else is striving for. There was no weird rookie hazing *ahem* Kobe Bryant shoving Larry Nance off the bench for a seat. There's no humiliation here. Mostly, it's logical, common sense.
The Warriors want their players to be great, and to reach those heights, the environment is as key as the potential unlocking. While Looney tried to explain what Draymond Green was saying to him in the huddle, Green walked by and yelled out his name, smiling from ear to ear. A locker room once so toxic that players cried from the amount of backlash and gossip, the Warriors have done a 180 so quickly, even politicians would blush.
As for the game itself, the Warriors are becoming a machine that's so reliable, so constant, and so special on both ends. Andre Iguodala's backdoor defense, Draymond Green's leading-the-cutter offense, and Andrew Bogut's transition-pushing, and Stephen Curry's unbridled excellence are become synonymous on a game-to-game basis that the rest of the season is becoming more and more like a waltz to May and June. There's no show greater on TV and in person that these Warriors. And closer and closer it appears, there is no team in history quite like this one.