Column: A Golden State of mind

Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green reacts after scoring against the Atlanta Hawks during overtime of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 1, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. Golden State won 109-105 in overtime. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

I remember having a heated conversation with my two friends, Jeff Lemmon and Chris Brennan on our way to Yankee Stadium to cover a UConn football game, last year. We argued about whether or not the Golden State Warriors would become a dynasty.

Jeff and I made fun of Chris almost the entire time because we did not think the Warriors could shoot themselves to an NBA title. Chris thought they were going to change the game. Jeff and I simply did not think that playing without a center, or even a true power forward, could possibly work for seven games.

We figured that players were bound to have off games once the pace slows down come playoff time.

But boy, were we wrong.

First off, the Warriors are never out of rhythm, an almost unfathomable statement. Someone is always on: if not Curry, then Thompson, if not Thompson, then Green, if not Green, then Iguodala, etc. You get the picture. Second, the pace never slows down. It only speeds up. The Warriors are always in transition. They move the ball in the fourth quarter at the same rate, or an even faster rate, than they do in the first three quarters.

I am not ashamed that I was wrong about the Golden State Warriors a couple years ago because frankly, everyone was wrong. No one really believed that the Warriors were going to steam roll over teams by shooting three pointers. They put up a good fight against the Clippers and Spurs in their 2013 and 2014 playoff runs, but they did not get the job done.

Who could have foreseen that the team that was knocked out by the Clippers in the first round two years ago would now be gunning for the Chicago Bulls’ 72-10 regular season record?

A lot of NBA fans are still baffled by the Warriors, despite their clear dominance. The reason is because Golden State is changing the game of basketball. Curry and Thompson are simply on another level. They are never out of a game because of the three-point shot, which they both shoot better than anyone else in the league. Lucky them, they are both on the same team. It hardly seems fair. Curry shoots almost 47 percent from downtown, while Thompson converts on nearly 42 percent of his threes. Both of them are deadly shooters, even when they are covered. But the problem is that a lot of the time they are not even covered because the Warriors are stacked at every position, and they move the ball tremendously.

The Warriors are first in points (115 ppg) and more importantly, first in assists (29.1 apg). However, neither one of these marks impresses me as much as their rebounding ranking. The Warriors are third in the league in rebounding (46.4 rpg), despite going small almost every single night. This team hardly ever plays with a true center, yet they are somehow third in rebounding.  How is that possible? Golden State is able to do this because they essentially pick the lineups of other teams, depending on how they come out. That is how influential they are on the game of basketball right now.

So, what are my thoughts now? Do I think the Warriors are the NBA’s next great dynasty? As of right now, yes. I do, however, want to see how some of the long-term contract negotiations pan out over the next couple summers. I thought that 2010 Thunder team with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden would become a dynasty. Winning is great, but it is a business at the end of the day. Players are ultimately out for themselves. It is easy for players like Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes to take a back seat now. But what happens when their contracts are up and they want a little bit more money? Off court decisions affect the game of basketball more than on court decisions. 


Eddie Leonard is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at edward.leonard_iii@uconn.edu. He tweets @EddieLeonard23.