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Golden State of Mind’s top stories of 2017

We say farewell to 2017 with a look back at our best articles of the year.

Golden State Warriors Victory Parade And Rally Photo by Jack Arent/NBAE via Getty Images

As both Bram Kincheloe and Brady Klopfer alluded to, 2017 was a difficult year for many people, to say the very least.

But as our nation grappled with existential questions about its governance — New York Magazine’s summary of 2017 as “a year defined by scandal, corruption and abuses of power at the highest levels of American society” was particularly succinct — the Golden State Warriors gave us plenty to celebrate, chat, and think about.

To add to what Bram Kincheloe and Brady Klopfer have already written, I just wanted to celebrate the Warriors’ successful year one last time while honoring the efforts of our writers by reviewing the best Golden State of Mind articles of the year.

Defining what's "best" is difficult, of course, and normally I avoid the question by just running down the most viewed articles, most commented, and/or most recommended. But this year I decided to narrow things down using a few easy-to-measure criteria and identified articles that were:

  • Selected for “Best of SB Nation NBA”, which are chosen by the staff;
  • Among Golden State of Mind’s top 100 for unique page views during 2017;
  • Among the most commented upon articles of the year.

In other words, these are articles with strong opinions, but also written clearly enough to appeal to a broader audience while still engaging for our community — these aren’t just my favorite articles or the most “clicky”, but those that strike the balance of being engaging, readable, and ...well... interesting.

The following are links to the articles that fit all three criteria along with brief summaries of each. The author and date are in parentheses.

Steph Curry, Kevin Durant joining forces to win the title

2017 NBA Finals - Game Five Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Explain One Play: Kevin Durant picks on Kevin Love (Apricot, June 2)

The Cavs know the Warriors (and everyone else) targets Love, so they often try to hide him by having him guarding Draymond Green (who is not a driving threat) or anyone weaker offensively. The simple counter is for the Warriors to use whomever Love is guarding as a screener.

Is Curry under-appreciated again? (Apricot, June 17)

A very touching moment in the Finals interviews can be seen at the end of the following lovely Curry Finals highlight package. Durant had just been awarded the FMVP and a rousing chant of “MVP”. And then when Curry got interviewed, the crowd came up with another rousing chant of “MVP” and he looked touched by that. How lucky we are that it doesn’t have to be Curry versus Durant, because we have Curry and Durant. There’s enough love for everyone.

Stop disrespecting Steph Curry (Ronaldinho, June 22)

...people were talking about Steph Curry as merely a “collaborative talent,” rather than being a franchise changer.

These takes are inexcusably bad and represent a sort of willful blindness that seems to follow some people around when it comes to Stephen Curry and the Warriors.

Dragging the competition (aka Bram’s Haters’ Ball)

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Watching Durant dominate in the Finals has made me realize just how much better Curry is than Westbrook (Bram Kincheloe, June 6)

...Curry has been AMAZING, but you never get the feeling that he resents the fact that Durant (assuming the Warriors win the series) will most likely win the MVP. Could you ever see Westbrook being even halfway okay with that?!

Westbrook would be pouting up and down the court. Or, most likely, he would just hog the ball, ensuring that Durant never touched it, just to get his precious triple double or whatever.

I’m so deeply not #TeamWestbrook at this point.

The Warriors ruined the NBA by inducing everyone to panic trade in a frenzy (Bram Kincheloe, June 21)

The league is literally shaking at its core right now, looking up at the Golden State Warriors. I’ve written about this before, but it’s still surreal to have witnessed the change in the league the past few seasons...Suddenly, the Cavaliers and the rest of the NBA are struck dumb, trying to find ways to compete.

Call me crazy, but maybe hastily made GM firings, sudden decisions to shave your head, or giving up on a 21-year-old potential star before you’ve given him a decent chance to succeed are not the smartest ways to go about all this.

The Clippers were always trash, and now the whole world finally knows (Bram Kincheloe, June 29)

...when the Clippers and Warriors first battled in 2014, did anyone see this happening? Did anyone envision a scenario where the Warriors grew into the greatest team in league history and then signed Kevin Durant while, simultaneously, the Clippers slowly unraveled due to infighting, lobbed charges of nepotism, and hurt egos?

Can the Houston Rockets compete with the Golden State Warriors next season? (Bram Kincheloe, July 18)

Bob Myers and the front office went out and put their money where their mouths had been (sorry, that sounds bad) by successfully bringing back the core. Stephen Curry signed a huge contract, Kevin Durant signed a bargain deal, and the team was able to bring back Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala. If you’re the Rockets, what are your options when chasing such a team? You can either pack it in and hope that the Warriors somehow falter into an unseen abyss, or you can give it your all and make this thing competitive.

Luckily for all true NBA fans, the Rockets decided to double down and take on the Warriors head first.

Building a dynasty while managing the salary cap

2017 NBA Global Games - China Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Why the Warriors invested in shooting (Hugo Kitano, July 26)

The Warriors’ starting lineup won’t have any problems with spacing, but the bench units often do. If any combination of Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and David West are on the floor, the Warriors have had to rely on playing Thompson, Durant, or both in order to space the floor.

With Young and Casspi in tow, the Warriors won’t have to play their stars to have adequate spacing on the floor. This will allow them to rest their stars more in the regular season and allow for some creative lineups in the postseason.

Why didn’t the Warriors pick up Kevon Looney’s option? (Patrick Murray, Oct. 31)

...there’s still an opportunity for him to carve out a role and be a valuable player going forwards.

For the Warriors, they may well have saved themselves some money next year, and created some flexibility going forwards.

Balancing that against the risk of Looney being offered a bigger contract in the summer, it seems like a reasonable decision.

The Warriors’ current starting five is one of the strangest the league has seen (Hugo Kitano, Dec. 15)

Livingston, Casspi, and Bell have started multiple games so far this season due to injury. But putting them out together is an interesting wrinkle by Kerr, evidence of how much the league has evolved in recent years...In Curry’s absence especially, the Warriors have had to find as much help as they can from their depth. The fact this strange lineup works is a testament to Kerr’s creativity in finding lineups that work in the modern NBA, and the individual talent of their bench players.

Sports and Society

NBA: Golden State Warriors-White House Visit Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

GSoM Cares: Why we won’t stick to sports (Tamryn Spruill, Sept. 19)

We, at GSoM, are committed to covering social-justice issues that players, coaches and others affiliated with the Warriors bring to light. It is our professional and moral duty to do so, no matter the outcry from some segments of the Warriors’ fan base.

If you are a fan who cheers loudly when your favorite player has a great game, but grumbles when he opens his mouth about police killings of black men, maybe it’s time for some honest, self-reflection. If you cannot value a player as a human being suffering under the injustices of racism — and the fears inherent in racism — what right do you have to call yourself a fan in the first place?

Honorable mention: 2017’s best FanPost

2017 NBA Finals - Game Five Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

I can’t close out the year without acknowledging how much we enjoy having good community-generated content. And, once again in 2017, the author of the top FanPost -- both by pageviews and recs — ended up being added to our staff during this past offseason.

So shout out to Daniel Hardee (aka GoldBloodedKing) for his FanPost that earned 20 recs with a title that we still talk about in our private Slack chat: “How The Warriors Weaponized Joy and Broke Kyrie and The League.”

We want to hear your thoughts too!

If you want to aim for the top FanPost of 2018, here’s a guide for how to get started. And since GSoM reader spacedout suggested we share tips for how to differentiate rumors from speculative click bait, here’s a guide to that from Nicklaus Denning of At the Hive (that was also selected for Best of SBNation NBA) and an older one from Bram. For those of you emailing me about wanting to join the staff, that’s the easiest way to stand out from the increasing number of applicants we receive as we continue to grow as a Warriors community.

Here’s to an even more prosperous 2018!

For a broader sampling of some of GSoM’s best work, check out SBN’s “Best of SB Nation NBA” section. For more of our top FanPosts and FanShots, please check out our GSoM’s Hottest FanPosts and FanShots section (that is also permanently pinned to the front page).

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