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which version of the Warriors was the most outstanding?

By winning a fourth title in eight years on Thursday night in Boston, the Warriors relaunched and solidified the dynasty that began in 2015. A fairly unique dynasty given the trajectory of Stephen Curry’s band and especially the different versions of Golden State that we have seen over the years. What raises the following question: how to classify the four teams of the Warriors who have all finished at the top of the NBA?

Disclaimer: the ranking below is based on both objective and subjective criteria. Besides the results, stats and other parameters allowing to truly measure the dominance of a team, the impression left by each version of the Warriors on the writer is also taken into account in this paper.

1) The 2016-17 Warriors

Regular season record: 67 wins – 15 losses
Record in the Playoffs: 16 wins – 1 loss
Offensive Efficiency: 1st in the NBA (114.8 points scored per 100 possessions)
Defensive Efficiency: 2nd in the NBA (103.4 points conceded per 100 possessions)

Arguably the deadliest version of the Warriors we’ve seen, and perhaps the most unstoppable team in history. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in the same jersey, with only one goal in mind: to destroy everything in their path. Golden State was coming off a humiliating 2016 NBA Finals loss to Cleveland after winning 73 games in the regular season, while KD – who landed in the Bay during the ensuing Free Agency – was on the hunt for a first ring following another premature elimination in the Playoffs against… Golden State precisely. When you combine that spirit of revenge with this team’s massive firepower and willingness to shut the mouths of critics, you have a war machine that is utterly untouchable on both sides of the pitch. Once Durant’s integration into the California collective was successful, the Warriors truly mistreated the competition, winning 67 regular games before finishing the Playoffs with the best all-time record. 16 wins for only one loss (in Game 4 against Cleveland in the NBA Finals), hello health course. We may never see such a combination of talents, shooters and All-Stars again, except with… Team USA. Simply an all-time team.

2) The 2014-15 Warriors

Regular season record: 67 wins – 15 losses
Record in the Playoffs: 16 wins – 5 losses
Offensive Efficiency: 2nd in the NBA (110.4 points scored per 100 possessions)
Defensive Efficiency: 1st in the NBA (100.4 points conceded per 100 possessions)

This version of the Warriors will forever hold a special place in the hearts of the Dub Nation, because it is the one who really launched the Golden State dynasty with the slogan #StrengthInNumbers, symbol of the power of the Californian collective. Having become a Playoffs team the previous two years under the impetus of the Splash Brothers, the Dubs changed in size from the 2014-15 season and the arrival of coach Steve Kerr, who took charge of Mark Jackson. The Warriors have gone from an explosive but predictable team on offense to a fearsome collective machine with more movement and better ball circulation, all while retaining the defensive solidity that helped Golden State become a team that counts in the West. Result: best record in the history of the franchise at the time, a first MVP trophy for Mr. Stephen Curry and the NBA title at the end. Lacking the experience of the 2017 version and playing with Harrison Barnes instead of Kevin Durant on the wing, the 2015 Warriors did not yet have that aura that would follow them in subsequent years, and may have found themselves in trouble. in the Playoffs against physical teams like Memphis and Cleveland (with a LeBron James yet deprived of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love). But the Dubs have always been able to find the solution, betting in particular on the small ball with the integration of the sixth man Andre Iguodala in the five in place of the precious pivot Andrew Bogut, thus creating the beginnings of the famous Death Lineup which will do so much damage. in the future.

3) The 2017-18 Warriors

Regular season record: 58 wins – 24 losses
Record in the Playoffs: 16 wins – 5 losses
Offensive Efficiency: 3rd in the NBA (112.8 points scored per 100 possessions)
Defensive Efficiency: 11th in the NBA (106.8 points conceded per 100 possessions)

Winning back-to-back and a third title in four years in 2018, the Warriors Dream Team version evolved with less panache that year than during their first two coronations. “Only” 58 regular wins, a somewhat disappointing second-place finish in the West, a less focused defense than in previous years, and a Playoffs campaign where they went from a small defeat to an early elimination. We still remember it was in the Conference Finals against Houston, where the Rockets – who had been preparing all year to specifically face Golden State – led 3-2 in the series before collapsing. following the injury of Chris Paul. The Warriors certainly provided the essentials in the end to remind everyone that they represented excellence in NBA basketball, but during this 2017-18 season we saw the first signs of physical and mental fatigue. We also saw a Golden State team sometimes lack balance between the polished game that has characterized so many previous seasons and the use of Kevin Durant on many isolation possessions. All of these signs became more and more frequent during the following campaign, marked by the KD-Draymond Green tangle, Durant’s not-so-great Free Agency vibe, and ultimately the injuries that forced Golden State to relinquish its throne. to the Raptors.

4) The 2021-22 Warriors

Regular season record: 53 wins – 29 losses
Record in the Playoffs: 16 wins – 6 losses
Offensive Efficiency: 16th in the NBA (112.1 points scored per 100 possessions)
Defensive Efficiency: 2nd in the NBA (106.6 points conceded per 100 possessions)

What a story, what a beautiful story! After two seasons without the Playoffs and the galleys of recent years, the Warriors have returned to the top to revive their dynasty, thus closing the mouths of those who said that the glorious period of Golden State was definitely a thing of the past. Stephen Curry finally winning the title of Finals MVP, Andrew Wiggins completely changing people’s perception of him, Klay Thompson winning a fourth ring after his two big injuries… so many reasons that make this title very special. “We combined our champion experience with new energy, with guys who really had the slab to reach the top step. This title particularly touches me. said Curry in particular after the last success against Boston. But if the story is so beautiful, why put this version of the Warriors in fourth position? Because we did not have the same impression of superiority as with those of previous titles. Certainly Stephen Curry is at the top, but Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have had a lot of ups and downs, and in terms of pure talent the workforce still seems more limited than before 2019 (53 regular wins, the highest total low among the four champion teams). You will tell us that it gives even more credit to their magnificent career and it’s true, except that we must also remember that the competition was not the craziest in the Playoffs either. The Dubs beat the private Nuggets of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., the Grizzlies who lost Ja Morant along the way, the over-reliant Mavericks of Luka Doncic, and finally the Celtics who had never tasted the NBA Finals. This does not detract from their achievement, but it plays when out of a hierarchy.

And for you, which version of the Warriors is the most memorable? The one from 2017 that eats everyone? That of 2015 which officially starts the dynasty? That of 2018 which brings back a third title? Or that of 2022 which symbolizes the rebirth of Golden State? It’s your turn to speak.


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