This is supposed to be tough.
I understand the freaking out right now — I feel it too. The Golden State Warriors have not looked right all year. They’ve played in fits and starts.
They started the season sleepy, and then ripped off six straight games by 15 or more. Then they sputtered out while dealing with nagging injuries to key players.
Steph Curry came back from injury and was molten lava ‘Unanimous’ for a few weeks. Then they basically stopped playing halfway through January.
They come out hard after the All-Star break, with Andre Iguodala out to prove he is indeed not deceased. Then the injuries began to bite, they dropped a few games and the doubts start to gnaw away again.
It’s tough to repeat
But here’s the thing — it’s tough to repeat.
Of the teams to repeat over the last 25 years, consider this:
- The Miami Heat were expected to dominate for a half decade but flamed out after two titles.
- Kobe Bryant’s last Los Angeles Lakers title needed a game 7 and a Kendrick Perkins injury.
- The Shaquille O’Neal/Kobe Bryant Lakers were only the number one seed once in their three-peat and needed some notoriously dodgy refereeing to beat the Sacramento Kings.
- In the Houston Rockets’ repeat year they entered the playoffs as the sixth seed.
- The Chicago Bulls were the greatest team ever and had Michael Jordan (and Steve Kerr).
- The San Antonio Spurs famously never did it.
Last time the Warriors were trying for a repeat they went hell for leather and flamed out when it mattered. Do you think they’ve forgotten that? Of course not, that’s why they’ve clearly paced themselves this year.
It’s really tough to go to four straight finals
But we’re not just trying to repeat — it’s really hard to go to four straight finals.
Don’t be fooled by LeBron James’ crazy run — he may finish his career at the undisputed GOAT (and that comes from someone who never thought Michael Jordan could be dethroned). And of course, he’s been helped by a comically weak East.
Who else has done it? Other than Bill Russell’s Boston Celtics who were dominant in a league that was still in it’s infancy, only Magic Johnson’s Lakers have managed it. But like LeBron’s Heat, they went 2-2.
Remember, Michael Jordan was so burned out he had to retire after both his three-peats.
It’s really, really tough to win 60+ games for four straight years
And then, ask yourself this: how many teams have had four straight 60 win seasons?
Only one team in NBA history. The very same Magic Johnson-led Lakers, who won 62, 62, 65, 62 between 1984-1988.
Not one other team has ever done this. Not Bill Russell’s Celtics, Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain’s Lakers, Lew Alcindor and Oscar Robertson’s Milwaukee Bucks, Larry Bird’s Celtics, Jordan’s Bulls, Shaq and/ or Kobe’s Lakers, Tim Duncan’s Spurs, any of LeBron James’ teams.
Not one of these other great NBA teams has done what this team is poised to do this year. And they’re on course to do it despite not really trying for much of the year and Curry missing a ton of time.
It’s supposed to be tough
Kerr knows how tough it is from his time in Chicago and San Antonio. That’s why he’s been pacing them all season.
The only thing that matters in the next few weeks is getting everyone healthy, not the least of which is Steph Curry’s precious right ankle.
Yes, the playoffs will be more competitive this time around. But it’s supposed to be hard to win an NBA title. Last year was an aberration and why everyone was so p’d off we got Kevin Durant.
So buckle up #DubNation. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.