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The Rise of an Empire: Golden State’s Path of Destruction

An ode/running tally of the franchises that have been, are being, and will be destroyed as the Warriors dynasty continues to dominate the NBA

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden State Warriors Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

This is what Draymond Green, the unquestioned heartbeat of the team, told GQ last October after teams desperately trying to stop the Warriors:

“What the f%k are you talking about?” he says to me. “They are really trying to rethink their whole strategy”—here he bumps a table repeatedly with his hand for emphasis, getting excited—“because teams know they don’t have a fu%ing clue.”

On a roll now, he remembers the Warriors’ lone playoff loss, in Game 4 of the 2017 Finals, when the Cavs sank twenty-four three-pointers, an NBA Finals record.

“That’d never been done!” Green exclaims. “They don’t come out and hit twenty-four threes and they’re swept. And that’s the second best team in the world. It’s pretty f&#@ing sick to see how everybody is just in a fu#*ing panic about what to do. You sit back and think, like, these motherf#*@ers, they know. That’s the fun part about it: They know they don’t stand a chance.”

In the spirit of Green’s bombastic proclamation, GSoM proudly presents to you a running tally of the Warriors “Path of Destruction” that is swiftly turning the basketball world to ash. We will be introducing franchises that have crossed our path, and marveling at what the Warriors have done to them.

Some teams we have beaten so badly they had fire their coach. Other organizations saw their best players abandon ship for the chance to be baptized into the Warrior Way. And there are some kingdoms, who by proxy, have crumbled from within from the mere pressure of existing in the same era as the Golden Dynasty.

The destruction index was created by faithful GSoM scribe Greg Thomas to allow us to assess the relative damage the Warriors have dispensed throughout the league.

In the upcoming days, we will unveil the teams one by one, who were in our path during our ascent to the top.

Here is our scale for how we ranked the damage done to the teams in our Path of Destruction:

Uncertain Future

Team that is still a competitor but starting to show indications of a future decline.

  • Denver Nuggets
  • Houston Rockets

Imminent Implosion

Team that was competitive but lost key players. Team chemistry issues.

  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Oklahoma City Thunder

Maximum Destruction

Franchise overhaul. No longer seen as contender or high level competition.

  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • San Antonio Spurs

Growing up in Oakland, I was a firsthand witness to the Golden State Warriors writhing in the shameful doldrums of garbage basketball. The laundry list of inept failures that preceded their current championship era was as humiliating as it was lengthy. After about forty years of suffering, the Warriors fan base was rewarded for their faith and perseverance with the franchises relatively sudden emergence from the caverns of failure.

After three titles in four years, the champs are heavy betting favorites to go ahead and win it all again next year. Warriors-Mania is sweeping the entire planet, as the Warriors lead the league in merchandise sold (Stephen Curry’s jersey sales are #1). At All-Star weekend, the Warriors became the first team in NBA history to, in consecutive years, have four players crowned as All-Stars.

We must not forget how all of this glory and majesty came to be, my brethren and sistren of Dub Nation. Let us take a moment and reflect on the energy source that powers Oracle Arena and feeds the millions and millions of Warriors fans day and night: the souls of our enemies.

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