The Golden State Warriors Before They Became A Feared Dynasty

The Golden State Warriors Before They Became A Feared Dynasty

The Golden State Warriors have won Game 5of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics and have successfully taken a 3-2 lead in the series. They are just one win away from winning their 4th NBA Championship in 6 Finals appearance. Of course this will be huge win for the Warriors who were quiet for the past 2 seasons due to injuries and player development.

As soon as Klay Thompson became available this season, it was ascertained that they were going to reach the Finals again. However, the Warriors’ reputation for making Finals appearance was not seen in that way 10 years prior. In fact their style of play was looked with contempt and the longevity of such a style of basketball was questioned.

The first piece to the puzzle

In 2009, the Golden State Warriors had the 7th pick of the draft with which they selected Stephen Curry from Davidson College. His draft comparisons were that of Mike Bibby in best case scenario and Steve Kerr or JJ Redick. Such were the prediction on the greatest shooter of All-Time.

Nevertheless, the first season was good enough for Stephen Curry as he made it in the starting lineup averaging 17.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.9 steals per game. The Warriors backcourt consisted of Curry and Monta Ellis, who was then the primary soring option for them. Yet this was the first step towards making the Warriors dynasty.

The following season, they got David Lee who was the ace of the New York Knicks. The Warriors looked better however they still fell short of making it into the playoffs. This landed them the 11th pick of the 2011 draft with which they selected the 2nd best shooter of the Warriors, Klay Thompson. The next season seemed like that they had the pieces they need and were prepared to go for a run.

Alas, tragedy struck the Warriors as Curry came down with an injury and had to miss most of the season. David Lee was the primary scorer for the Warriors during Curry’s absence. Plus they ended up trading away Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson. Jackson happened to retire after a year but Bogut became the defensive anchor for the team.

Before the start of the 2012 season, the Warriors drafted Draymond Green who would later become the voice of their franchise. In addition they hired head coach Mark Jackson who would be the one to build the team around Curry and run the offense accordingly.

The first playoff run

In the 2012-13 season, the Warriors were prepared to go for a playoff run. The starting backcourt for the Warriors was Steph Curry and Klay Thompson with Harrison Barnes and David Lee playing the frontcourt positions. Anchoring the paint was Andrew Bogut. They went for 47-35 in the regular season and secured a place in the Playoffs.

But they were not done. The core members of the Warriors tasted their first playoff series win against the Denver Nuggets. However, their inexperience would not help them past the San Antonio Spurs who went on to reach the Finals.

Expectations broken

This season spelt what the Warriors needed and what they had. With such insight of the game, Mark Jackson took a calculated risk and brought in Andre Iguadola and Jermaine O’Neal. The direction of the team was set and the best of the series was yet to come.

The Warriors attacked the NBA scene and this season was when the Splash Brothers started to emerge. Curry averaged 24.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game earning his first All-Star appearance. Klay was not far behind as he was putting up averages of 18.4 points on 41.7% shooting from 3-point range.

With so much positivities in the regular season, the Warriors were expected to make a deep playoff run. They also had a stacked bench who could help them on the way. But they fell to the Los Angeles Clippers in 7 Games in the 1st round of the Playoffs.
One Last change
The following season, Jermaine O’Neal retired. The Warriors felt that they needed to make some changes to the coaching staff. So, they brought in Steve Kerr who has won 5 NBA Championships in his career.

As soon as Kerr entered the scene, he tweaked a bit with the roster and made Draymond Green the starting power forward, putting David Lee on the bench. Although it was seen as a baffling decision but putting in Green actually strengthened the Warriors’ defense.

The 2014-15 season was a huge success for them as the Warriors earned the 1st seed in the Western Conference with a record of 67-15. Curry and Klay made it into the All-Star team but the best was yet to come.

The run for the gold

In the playoffs, the Warriors swept the Anthony Davis led Pelicans in the 1st round. In the 2nd round, the Warriors faced the tough defensive Memphis Grizzlies. The Warriors trailed 1-2 in the series before they shot their opponents right out of the building in the next 3 game.

In the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors faced off against the Houston Rockets. The duo of Harden and Howard were formidable opponents for them, if they would have been on the same page. The Warriors disposed off the Rockets in 5 games and had reached their first Finals Appearance since 1975.

They were faced off against the heavily favored Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James. Luckily for them, the Cavaliers were without both Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. Andre Iguodala took the responsibility of guarding LeBron James and on the offensive end, the Splash brothers worked their magic. With Steve Kerr coaching the Warriors, it took them 6 games to win the championship.

The ‘Golden Age’ begins

The Warriors tasted their first successful season after years of trial and error. What followed afterwards could be said as the golden age of the Warriors’ history. There is a reason that 16 June 2015 will be remembered in Warriors history as this was the start of their years of dominance and glory which was brought to light thanks to the efforts of the players, the coaching staff and the office. Looks like Jerry Kraus was right! Organizations do win championships.

“Ladies and gentleman you have witnessed the 2nd greatest performance in NBA history.” That’s the way Soham was introduced to the world of Basketball. He is an ardent fan of the game capturing every moment, whether it be the long and turbulent regular season or the nail-biting playoff series. His perspective as a player provides valuable insight to the game. A follower of Kobe Bryant, he brings his mamba mentality in gathering every piece of information of the NBA.