Not too long ago, someone brought up the question of whether I'd rather the Warriors have Durant or back-to-back titles...and I realized that I don't think I'll ever quite get over that moment when Stephen Curry threw a behind-the-back pass out of bounds in the fourth quarter of Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
There were lots of high points during #ArrogantSZN, but winter came swiftly in the form of a blizzard of LeBron James highlights and left everyone with frostbite. For me, Curry's moment (maybe even his entire fourth quarter...on both ends...) was confirmation of my fear that the entire season was simply too good to be true. And Klay Thompson's face...
Time has a tendency to wash away the details of history and leave you with the high-valence moments, positive or negative. We can't really predict how we'll feel about this season years from now, but as we await the next season and another chance at championship glory, the fact that I just can't shake that turnover is probably a reasonable preview of what's to come for me.
Thankfully, the NBA offseason is moving along quickly for me, obviously aided by being able to look forward to Kevin Durant playing with the Golden State Warriors while watching him in the 2016 Olympics. And, for me, a new season also comes with an opportunity to add new contributors to help this community of fans grow.
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We recently finalized who our new contributors will be after a pretty competitive application process and as their first task, I asked them to share how they'll remember the 2015-16 season. Thankfully for our community, they're able to see the glass half full while I sit around marinating in my own disappointment about the season -- I think they're the right mix of diversity and writing styles to help us move on and look ahead to bigger and better things this season.
So I'm excited to introduce nine new contributors, some of whom you'll recognize from their activity around the site and some whose voices you'll no doubt come to appreciate. Nine is a lot, but they'll be filling a number of different roles from game analysis to humor to helping us out with editing behind the scenes. And ultimately, I think they'll make our community of fans stronger by bringing fresh perspectives and adding some things we've been lacking.
Below you'll find their memories of the season as well as links to their author profile and Twitter profile (in parentheses). Please give them all a warm welcome!
(In alphabetical order by first name)
Dhara T. (@dharataheri): I will never forget missing the chance to go back-to-back by just 5 points, because winning at that point, after everything the team had gone through to get there, seemed inevitable. That is how I will remember the 2015-16 season, as smashing through every prediction and expectation. 24-0, 73-9, 400 threes, coming back against OKC, and giving up 3-1 in the Finals all combine to make an unforgettable and bittersweet season.
Duby Dub Dubs: This is a pretty vague question. I could go with something very succinct, like "fondly" or funny by saying "not so well" but I think what I'll remember most is all the records broken by last years teams. Not necessarily all of them individually, but more holistically. I looked it up just for this response and according to 538.com:
Golden State set records for the most road wins (34), the best start to a season (24-0), the best record against top-10 teams (21-2) and the longest home winning streak across seasons (54 games, including 2014-15). They were also the only team ever to finish a season without losing two games in a row and without losing to the same opponent twice (the 1995-96 Bulls dropped two to Indiana). Surely there are other, more minor records lying around waiting to be noticed, but the most improbable is finished: The Warriors have won more regular-season games than any other NBA team in history.
It was a season of historical dominance. Yeah, Steph set some pretty amazing personal records and really emerged as a legitimate Superstar, but my favorite memory is going to be all of those team accomplishments listed above. Just because of my age, those Jordan Bulls teams had always been the gold standard to me. All the debates about if this Warriors team could beat them (or the Showtime Lakers) was really amazing for me. It meant we had arrived as a franchise. Joe "light years" Lacob was right: these guys absolutely belong on the pantheon of greatest NBA teams ever.
That's pretty special to me.
Jason Lee (@ForTheWs): I will remember the 2015-2016 NBA season as the year everything broke. Record for best start. Broken. Best regular season record. Broken. Three-pointers in a single season. Broken (again). Most road wins, longest home winning streak, Steven Adams' nuts. Broken, broken, broken. Unfortunately, it was not all sunshine and rainbows for the Warriors.
Until last season, no team had ever lost after being up 3-1 in the finals. Broken. Harrison Barnes' jumper. Broken. Our hearts... broken. But everything happens for a reason and as I see it, that reason has manifested in the form of a "6 foot 9 inch" former MVP with guard skills and a penchant for draining buckets. We ain't broke!
Jonathan Asaad (@JohnnyAsada): I will remember the 2015-16 season as the year LeBron James (unfortunately) cemented himself as a top 3 player of all-time at the expense of the Warriors, who I invested so much into both emotionally and financially. However, with the signing of Kevin Durant, I can erase the painful memory of how the 2016 season ended and look forward to a potential dynasty.
Mike Brady (@MBHoops13): I will remember it as the year the Warriors completed their heel turn and went full villain. But more importantly, for me the 2015-16 season will always be the year of Curry, he turned Warriors basketball into the greatest show on earth. As for the NBA Final? What final? I don't remember any final. (Also see his FanPost entitled, "Why the Warriors?")
K Stubbe: What I will remember most about the 2015/2016 season is the amazingly intense games we had against OKC, especially Game 6 in the playoffs when Klay Thompson was out of this world and then the game where Steph made that crazy half court shot to help win the game even though he had tweaked his ankle. How can anyone forget that shot???? I can still play it over and over in my mind. And yes, those were my favorite moments way before Durant became a Warrior. To be honest, it took me a bit to get sold on him... mainly because it meant losing a lot of players that I really thought highly of.
Tamryn Spruill (@TamrynSpruill): From her 2002 album Golden State, Mia Doi Todd croons on the song "Independence Day": all of my heroes have turned human this year. Sure, it's a little melodramatic. But it does accurately sum up how I will remember the Warriors' bell curve of a 2015-2016 season.
The height, of course, was the history-making 24 straight wins to start the season and the history-making 73 total wins to end it. But the decline began with Stephen Curry's and Andrew Bogut's injuries and continued with the tired legs of the entire team in the Finals, which allowed the Cavs to win the final three of seven games and to make history of its own. Throughout the 2014-2015 season - and during most of the 2015-2016 season - the Warriors indeed seemed to be superhuman heroes of the hardwood. But injuries, and time for opponents to study the team's winning ways, highlighted some vulnerabilities.
For more thoughts on the season from the rest of our staff, check out our Warriors season-in-review series.