One year after winning an NBA record 73 regular-season games, the Golden State Warriors came within one historic night of a perfect 16-0 postseason. As it stands, the Warriors beat the Cavs, 129-120, in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday to atone for their only blemish of the postseason – a Game 4 loss in Cleveland – and capture their second title in three seasons.
And yet, after three incredible years, this isn’t the end for Golden State. If anything, it’s only the beginning.
“I think this team here, when it’s all said and done, it’s going to be one of the best teams of all time,” former Warrior and current St. John’s coach Chris Mullin said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I do believe that. Of course in the moment it’s hard to compare. I know people always want to compare to different generations, which is somewhat impossible to do. But when you look at the four players, the foundation piece of Durant, Curry, Draymond and Klay – they’re going to be Hall of Fame players. They’ve gone (to the Finals) now three years in a row. I see them, at the minimum, going four more. That would be seven. This is going to be a historic, all-time great team. I don’t think there’s going to be a question about that after all the emotion goes away of how Durant got there – and all these other things that people talk about – and we focus on what’s going on on the court.”
Golden State’s talent is matched only by its unselfishness. Draymond Green might be the in-your-face alpha dog, but Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson are all unassuming superstars.
“Klay doesn’t say a word,” Mullin said. “He just goes out there. He’s like the labrador retriever. You tell him to chase Kyrie off screens, that’s all he does. You tell him to come off screens and catch and shoot, that’s all he does. But he’s going to do it all night, every night. . . . I think the collection of the talent is one thing, (but when) you blend the personalities together, that really makes it special. I think that’s where the chemistry comes into play.”
Golden State shot 38.2 percent from three during the Finals, headlined by Durant’s 47.4 percent and Thompson’s 42.5 percent. The Warriors, however, are more than just jump-shooters.
“Their offensive firepower, that’s obviously No. 1 of their strengths,” Mullin said. “They’re very good on the defensive end. But probably the most important part is the ball movement, the unselfishness to pass up shots knowing that it’s going to come back around. . . . They’re the ideal team to emulate – and not just because they’re champions and not just because they have the big names, but because they really do play a fundamental style of basketball, which is not only beautiful to watch, but obviously it’s a championship style.”