Twenty-two and counting!
In what is the best start in the history of sports, the Golden State Warriors have captured the first 22 games of this NBA season. Yes, they have even topped the St.Louis Maroons of the old Union League long before major league baseball came into existence. You all remember the Maroons of course.
But this spectacular start by the defending NBA champs is amazing when you consider the pit-falls common to any season when there are letdowns, back-to-back contests and just plain running into a team which was just plain better that particular night.
But not the Warriors. Not only do they win, but they are thrilling to watch.
This is a different NBA than the one I covered when the Celtics, Lakers, 76ers, Pistons and Bulls dominated. Even the San Antonio Spurs, the one recent dynasty in the sport, have a more traditional style that resembles those powers of the 80’s and early 90’s.
Remember when you had to have a true center? A big force inside to score and defend the basket?
There were set positions in those days. A small forward like Dr. J.. A power forward such as Kevin McHale.
The shooting guard. Michael Jordan. And of course, the playmaker. Isaiah Thomas. And of course, the big man. Take your pick. Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem, well, you know.
These Warriors are built on today’s NBA. 3-point shooting, defending the 3’s, interchangeable parts, depth, speed, movement and total unselfishness.
Steph Curry is the poster-boy of the league. Deadly from beyond-the-arc, can score 40 almost anytime,relaxed, confident and the best smile of all. Even when he’s talking in a serious vein, Curry has that glint and smile that’s captivating.
The Warriors make every foot of a basketball court meaningful. They use it all when they have the ball. And cover it all when they don’t.
Draymond Green who was not a starter till Steve Kerr arrived as head coach, can defend all five positions.
Klay Thompson, Curry’s partner in crime in the backcourt can clamp down on anyone he defends.
Andrew Bogut and Mareese Speights are big men who have the abilities of old-time centers.
It’s a team of great depth. They all can play. And their small-ball unit is devastating with their quickness and athleticism.
They are unselfish. They look for the right guy in the right spot and they get him the ball. And if they were a starter and now come off the bench like Andre Iguodala, they accept their roles.
Luke Walton, filling in for Steve Kerr sidelined with a bad back should be getting credit for his team’s incredible start. He hasn’t messed up a good thing. But it’s Kerr’s baby. And learning from Gregg Popovich, the best of the best, hasn’t hurt.
Enjoy these Warriors. They’re unlike anything we’ve seen before, believe me.
And maybe what we’ll see in the future.