The 2016-17 Golden State Warriors may very well be the most talented basketball team ever constructed.
At this point in time it seems that only a handful of teams will be able to matchup with these guys on the court. But as the start of a new NBA season nears, the Warriors might have already found their new rival in the national media.
It is safe to say that this team is not new to criticism, both on a personal level and as a team.
But this season is different. Every aspect of this team will be analyzed and nitpicked to a degree that no other basketball team has seen before.
It was certainly hard to ignore the massive white elephant in the room after the Warriors’ 107-96 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in their final preseason contest. There was talk all day over comments about an anonymous team official who said that the Dubs played like “cowards” without Draymond Green in last year’s NBA Finals.
Both Stephen Curry and head coach Steve Kerr displayed their displeasure with the comment and how it came to surface. Not to mention the timing of it all.
“It’s hard to top what Klay said because I agree with everything that he said. You can nitpick all you want, but at the end of the day we’re all competitive,” said Curry.
“We’re all our own person but we are all in this thing together so if you take shots at Draymond then you take shots at the whole team. We just keep moving forward; there’s nothing that is going to derail us. Our goal is to not let anything come into that locker room that’s not from us.”
Obviously, that is easier said than done. The Warriors used to be the media’s darling, with reports of the team’s organic chemistry produced daily. But this year is different.
Every turnover, scowl and apparent leg kick will be put under a microscope. Last year, Golden State felt a need to prove themselves as worthy of their title and rightful place at the top of the basketball world.
However this season, nothing needs to be proved. Everyone knows the Warriors’ potential greatness. However, it is going to take a new level of mental toughness to get through the 2016-17 NBA season.
I would be very surprised if this is the only type of story that arises about this team in the coming months. Everyone is looking for that unforeseen angle on what makes this team click and what can possibly derail them.
The Warriors looked visibly frustrated in the first quarter of their final preseason game. Attribute it to having to answer questions about a game that was played months ago, or maybe just the fact that Portland came out with a ton of energy.
Regardless, the Warriors weathered the storm and eventually started to play their game.
There will be plenty of road bumps throughout the year that the Warriors will need to navigate. Some on the court and many off it.
It will be how they handle these treacherous seas of speculation from the outside world that may indicate just how far this team can go. But at this point in time, only seven games into the Kevin Durant era, the Warriors’ newest edition only has one concern on his mind:
“I just want to get out there and hoop.”
Expect this to be a theme this season. Sometimes it’s best to just keep things simple. If the Warriors can keep it simple and just hoop, then great things are to follow.