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Beyond the Bison: Witnessing NBA History

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Beyond the Bison: Witnessing NBA History

Graphics by Olivia Braito.

Graphics by Olivia Braito.

Graphics by Olivia Braito.

Graphics by Olivia Braito.

Michael Caruso, Senior Writer

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In the National Basketball Association (NBA), the label of “super team” has been assigned to various franchises to emphasize the dominance of a particular team. For instance, LeBron James joined the Miami Heat in 2010, accompanying future Hall of Famers Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The Heat went on to win the NBA Finals in both 2012 and 2013. James’ move to Miami kickstarted the recent trend of NBA superstars wanting to join the best teams in the league to up their chances of winning a championship. But what exactly would you call a team that takes that to the next level – with the entire starting five, and even their sixth man on the bench, being a league MVP, an All-Star, or an NBA Finals MVP?

 

The Golden State Warriors have completely controlled the Western Conference for the past four seasons in exceptional fashion. Two-time MVP Stephen Curry has been the face of the franchise ever since he was drafted seventh overall in 2009. A short, skinny kid from Davidson College, Curry has revolutionized the point guard position and is well on his way to breaking the all-time NBA three-point record currently held by Ray Allen.

 

During the Warriors’ remarkable stretch, Curry has been a commanding player, aided by the sheer talent of the other players on the roster. First, the Warriors were able to acquire two more high-caliber players to accompany Curry: Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Thompson, who currently holds NBA records for most points in a quarter with 37 and most three-pointers made in a game with 14, and Green, who was named Defensive Player of the Year after the 2016-2017 season. And if that was not enough, the Warriors also added 2014 NBA MVP Kevin Durant in July 2016, as well as four-time All-Star center Demarcus Cousins this past offseason.

 

One cannot help but wonder if this is the best team the NBA has ever seen. In the 2015-2016 season, the Warriors proved to everybody just how dominant the team was, ending the season with a record of 73-9, the best ever in NBA history. Not to mention, the Warriors have appeared in every single NBA Finals since the 2014-2015 season.

 

“The task isn’t to simply win because no other team has five all-stars,” sports columnist for The Washington Post, Jerry Brewer, said in a Jan. 24 article, “They’re competing to elevate the standard, and the most underrated aspect of the Warriors’ success is they often redefine how great players on the same team can function without greatly sacrificing their special characteristics.”

 

But basketball fans around the world did not take too kindly to Durant joining the already-elite Warriors roster, and people started to wonder if that one move alone would ruin the NBA for seasons to come. The fear is that one team with that amount of talent would dominate the league. Furthermore, when Demarcus Cousins signed an unusually small contract worth $5.3 million for just one year in hopes of winning a championship, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was criticized for allowing a deal that, critics say, would make the NBA so lopsided (even though Silver technically does not have any say on free-agent pickups in the offseason).

 

Yet, whether you like it or not, the Golden State Warriors are one of the most, if not the most, dominant teams in NBA history, living up to their reputation yet again this year. They lead the NBA in points scored per game at 119.1 and sit atop the Western Conference rankings. With Steve Kerr at the helm, who, as of Jan. 26, became the quickest coach in sports history to reach 300 career wins, it is hard to imagine a Finals this year that does not feature the Warriors.

 

Although over the next season or two players like Thompson and Cousins are rumored to be joining other teams, the NBA should currently be marveling at the wonderful basketball we have been witnessing. How many NBA games can you watch and say that a team’s entire starting lineup could potentially be Hall of Famers?

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Beyond the Bison: Witnessing NBA History