The raucous crowd roared inside the Oracle Arena as Stephen Curry knocked down another one of his signature step-back, three-point shots. Stephen loved it, the fans were in adulation, Mark Jackson was in awe, and every basketball fan (except for those of the opposing team) gazed in a frenzy at their television set while the Warriors’ made colossal strides toward improvement last season, including their advancement to the playoffs. Who doesn’t want more of that this upcoming basketball season? I know I do. However, what are the chances that their recent success had been nothing more than a fluke? Could the team recoil into insignificant form once again?
The Warriors’ history doesn’t do them any favors as their track record indicates that their recently experienced success was merely ephemeral. They have made the playoffs just twice since the 1993-1994 season and have gone through eleven different coaches in that 18-year span, which comprised only three winning seasons. In 2007, the eighth-seeded Warriors completed a huge first round upset after defeating the first-seed Dallas Mavericks. It only took one season for the Golden State Warriors to regress as an irrelevant basketball squad, going 29-53 in the following 2008-09 season. What exactly is auspicious about their modern success? Golden State has much to prove to their fans this year.
If they hope to retain their prosperity they will certainly have to focus on defense. The front office did their part by bringing in defensive specialist Andre Iguodala. The Nuggets’ defensive efficiency has improved from nineteenth place to eleventh place thanks to Iggy’s long, lanky figure in the perimeter. Additionally, Jarrett Jack’s departure might be a blessing in disguise. Curry and Jack played together for a significant amount of time last season, which surely diminished the team’s defense; bigger guards such as Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant and Russel Westbrook would have a field day facing either of the two and in the playoffs, and the Spurs took full advantage of this. With Curry and Jack on the floor, the Spurs outscored Golden State by 10.8 points per 100 possessions. Of the 10 most frequently used two-man groups in the series against the Spurs, none of them were worse than the Warrios’ point guard tandem.
With the loss of Jarrett Jack, the addition of Andre Iguodala, with Harrison Barnes potentially coming off the bench and a healthy Andrew Bogut protecting the rim, they should be a much improved defensive ball club. As the old adage goes, defense wins championships, and that certainly holds true in the competitive Western Conference. If they can coherently and vigorously construct impervious protection for their basket, one can anticipate another explosive run by a team that will be a force for years to come.