UA-59049186-1 Are the Warriors Fraudulent Champions? - Good if it Goes

Are the Warriors Fraudulent Champions?

The Golden State Warriors won 73 games and broke the record for most wins in the regular season of all-time. They surpassed Jordan’s ’96 Bulls and now go down as the greatest team in NBA history…of the regular season. I hope that’s enough of a consolation prize for them because that’s all they’ll be going home with after this season thanks to Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Now, a lot of topics and debates are sure to develop over the next few days as a result of the way the Finals played out. Questions like “Where does LeBron rank all-time?” or “What does this mean for his legacy?” are sure to be at the forefront.  What do these NBA finals mean for the legacy of last year’s Golden State Warriors team? Warriors players feel disrespected by people who think they only won the championship in 2015 because of injuries.  After watching the 2016 NBA finals, it’s safe to say without a doubt that if Kyrie Irving played the entire series during last year’s finals, Cleveland would’ve been celebrating it’s second straight championship last night and Curry & Co. would still be in pursuit of ring #1. The Warriors proved in these finals they are indeed fraudulent champions. I didn’t have very much respect for them as champions after they won it last year and I was one of the loudest people beating the “they only won because of injuries” drum.

The 2015-16 regular season started and Golden State looked like a historic team. All of sudden, I changed my mind. I was fooled by the illusion of regular season success which is something I usually never do. If you remember last year, Golden State was the best regular season team. They won 67 games and I remember being one of the few saying they still weren’t the best team in the NBA. I let myself fall victim to the hysteria of 73-9 and it blinded me from what already knew deep down and had been trying to get others to realize. This Warriors team isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

Let’s go back to the 2015 season and count the ways the Warriors lucked up. It’s true you can only play who’s in front of you but not even leprechauns have the kind of good fortune the Warriors were blessed with in last season’s playoff run. For starters, Kevin Durant missed most of that year’s regular season with a foot injury and thus, the Thunder didn’t even make the playoffs. Watching how the Thunder outplayed them and had them on the brink of elimination in this year’s Western Conference Finals, it’s fair to say that was the biggest break of all. Their next break came during the playoffs as a unprecedented string of injuries to other teams starting point guards ran rampant across the league. Golden State caught a break in every round of the playoffs. In Round 1, Tony Parker was a shell of himself in a series against the Clippers as he tried to gut it out and play with a bad hamstring. In 7 games against the Clippers, he averaged 11 PPG and shot 36% from the field. Clearly he was limited due to injury and because of it the Clippers were able to beat the Spurs in 7.

With OKC missing the playoffs, the Spurs were the biggest threat to the Warriors. With Parker hobbled, they were removed from the equation after the first round and the Warriors never even had to play them. So after onn round of the playoffs, the Thunder and Spurs are out of the equation and the Warriors haven’t broke a sweat coming off their first round sweep of the upstart Pelicans. In Round 2, the Warriors went up against the Grizzlies and what do you know…more good luck. Mike Conley, the starting PG for the Grizzlies, had a freak accident that resulted in him badly hurting his face and needing surgery in the previous series. He missed the first game of their second round series with Golden State. Conley is one of the best defensive PGs in the NBA and obviously was needed to help counteract the “best back court of all-time.” Even though he returned to play the final five games of the series, he wasn’t the same guy. On top of that, Zach Randolph got suspended for Game 6 which was the game the Warriors closed the Grizzlies out in.

With the Spurs and Thunder out, there was only one legitimate threat to the Warriors remaining in the West; the Clippers. Despite a great series from CP3, the Clippers went on to blow a 3-1 lead and the Rockets, a considerably less talented team, went on to advance. So in the Western Conference Finals of all teams the Warriors got to go up against the Houston Rockets, and guess what? The Rockets starting PG, Patrick Beverly, who is widely recognized as one of the best defenders in the game was hurt and didn’t play a single game in the series. Golden State got to play for the Western Conference crown against a team with Jason Terry starting at PG in 2015. I’d say it doesn’t get any luckier than that. Obviously they went on to win the series with ease in five games.

Now we get to last year’s finals. Kevin Love was already ruled out and Irving entered the series banged up and having missed a few playoff games. Then what do you know? The very first game of the series when Irving was balling, he gets hurt and is out for the remainder of the series. Another team without their starting PG. With no Irving or Love, the Cavs had no chance and the Warriors would go on to win the series in 6 games. The fact it even took six games was an indictment on the Warriors and it turns out I was right all along. If Irving never got hurt, the Warriors would not have won the title last year and there is nothing anyone can say to convince me otherwise. When you consider the fact that Golden State was actually a better team this year than they were last year, it makes me wonder if they would’ve even been able to get out of the west if Kevin Durant never got hurt and they had to deal with the Thunder. I know this is all hypothetical and we can’t go back and rewrite history but looking at all the evidence and how the Warriors looked against the Cavs and the Thunder,  it’s fair to at least question the validity of the Warriors championship last season. For me personally, it will always have a big fat asterisk beside it. The Golden State Warriors were fraudulent champions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.