Years from now, we could be bragging about how we witnessed the greatest team in NBA history play.
I’m not saying that’s true just yet, but I am saying that the Golden State Warriors are on their way to being in the running for the title of greatest NBA team ever. The Warriors are certainly the best team in the league currently. They work together astoundingly well and while it’s fairly easy to point to their star player (hey, Steph!), it’s also easy to list five or six other players that the Warriors count on for their success. These include Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes, just to name a few.
Not only can we hopefully watch Golden State play their way to another championship title this year, we can already see them do exciting stuff right now.
The Warriors started off their season 15–0, which tied them with the 1948–49 Washington Capitals and the 1993–94 Houston Rockets for best NBA season start. They also broke the record for best start by a defending champion, shooting past the 1957–58 Boston Celtics (The New York Times, “Warriors Top Nuggets; 15-0 Start Ties Record,” 11.23.15).
After their game this past Tuesday, Nov. 24, the Warriors broke the record, advanced to a 16–game winning streak and beat the LA Lakers 111–77 (Northeast Public Radio, “Golden State Warriors Break Record for Best Start in NBA,” 11.25.15).
And not only is their record literally perfect, they have won all their games with relative ease. There have been a few close calls, like against the Clippers and the Nets, but nonetheless Golden State has stayed, well, golden. A team finding their groove this early and playing this well is certainly something to keep an eye on.
The Warriors’ goal has now shifted to beating a new record: longest winning streak, currently held by the 1971–72 Lakers at 33 games (Sports Illustrated, “Warriors’ Steph Curry on longest NBA winning streak: ‘we talk about 33,’” 11.26.15). A team with such lofty goals that has already broken records and won a championship certainly deserves to be in contention for the subjective title of best NBA team of all time. For some fans, they may already be dominating the conversation.
So who else is in the conversation to be considered the best NBA team ever? Most people agree that it is the 1995–96 Chicago Bulls. After Michael Jordan’s historic return from retirement and a 72–10 season, it will be difficult for another team to ever top the greatness of the Bulls.
Interestingly, Golden State’s average margin of victory this season is 15.3 points, topping the margin of the historic Bulls at 12.2 (The New York Times, “Golden State Warriors Close in on Longest Perfect Start,” 11.19.15).
As the Times points out though, there was a 50–point victory over the Grizzlies that could be skewing the data. Even so, take out the game against the Grizzlies and the average for the Warriors becomes the same as that of the ‘96 Bulls (The New York Times).
All statistics aside, the Warriors’ return as a strong team after winning a championship is an indication of greatness still to come. Basketball is not necessarily about breaking records; it is, after all, a team sport that relies on the cooperation of every player. The Warriors embody this in nearly every aspect, something that truly makes them special in an age of star players. Sorry LeBron.
So yeah, it will take a lot of wins this season and another championship title to fully launch the Warriors into the running for greatest NBA team. It may take a season of convincing to get there, but if last season and their current record (19–0) is any indication, I believe this season’s perfect start is just the beginning.