In many sports, one specific team will often dominate a period of play. It’s happened many times in basketball history, but few have been able to match the standards of the Golden State Warriors. Between 2010 and 2019, the team won three of their seven NBA Championships. They dominated their division and the Western Conference for much of that decade, but what was the secret behind their success?
Current Warrior Status
In 2023, Golden State Warriors are battling to match the exploits of their illustrious predecessors. They entered the Playoffs as the defending champions, while NBA championship odds listed them among the favorites to retain that title. After easing past the Memphis Grizzlies in Round One, GSW faced a much tougher test against the LA Lakers in the second phase. Even if they were to claim back-to-back wins, the team has a long way to go to match the exploits of former Warriors teams.
The Golden State franchise that won three titles in four seasons will certainly go down as one of the greatest NBA teams of all time. However, with just seven championships overall, the Warriors are playing catch-up with those at the top of the list. As the 2022/23 season began, two teams led the way at the top of the outright list. Both the Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers can currently boast 17 NBA pennants, and each of those sides dominated the association on occasion.
The Celtics were very much the team of the 1960s, with no fewer than nine of those championships coming in that decade. Boston was virtually unstoppable, and they only lost out on the title once in the whole of those ten seasons between 1960 and 1969. Twenty years later, the Los Angeles Lakers were the team to beat. Between 1980 and 1989, the team landed eight of those 17 overall championships. Behind those successful teams from both the Celtics and the Lakers were some immense NBA Hall of Famers. As Golden State picked up the challenge in the 2010s, how did their greatest talents match up?
The Star Man
Every member of the roster played their part in the Warriors’ greatest period, but the standout performer was Stephen Curry. As GSW moved into the 2020s, the phenomenal point guard continued to break new records.
During Golden State’s golden years between 2015 and 2018, Curry was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player on two separate occasions. He broke a stack of records, and he is often cited as one of the main reasons for the Warriors’ dominance during this period.
Of all the stats that Stephen Curry delivered, two really stand out. He has an exceptional record of landing three-pointers, and he rarely misses a free throw. Those are two factors that will always help to clinch tight contests.
The Supporting Cast
While Stephen Curry claimed the majority of the headlines, Golden State’s success wasn’t just down to one man. The Point Guard was backed by great strength in squad depth as the Warriors claimed those three titles in four seasons. Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are just two members of the supporting cast that helped GSW to dominate for much of the 2010s. Their impressive stats across those three wins show just how pivotal each man was to the team.
Durant was named the MVP of both the 2016 and 2019 finals, proving that the Warriors were not a one-man unit. Klay Thompson also played a significant role, while the All-Star teams of this era were studded with GSW players. There are some suggestions that luck played a part in their success, and there may be an element of truth in that. In a long and grueling regular season that features 82 games, you need your best players to stay free of injury. In the main, those key performers stayed out of the physio’s room, allowing the Warriors to field their first-choice starters on the majority of occasions.
Can Golden State Get Back to the Top?
While they enjoyed NBA title success as recently as 2022, GSW fans will be asking whether the Warriors side of the 2020s can go on to emulate those dominant performances from the previous decade. Naturally, much will depend on Stephen Curry, who continues to be the most influential player on the Golden State roster. In 2021/22, he broke a host of records as the team sailed to their seventh NBA title overall. One man doesn’t make a team, and there will need to be support from the remaining players. The current Golden State Warriors side may not be as strong as a unit compared to their illustrious predecessors, but they can still add to that impressive list of multiple championships.