RICHMOND- In 2014, the Golden State Warriors won over the basketball world when they defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers to capture their first NBA title since 1975.
It took 6 games but they were considered the loved team by America as it was someone new winning the title. Then all of the love transformed into resentment.
The following year they went 73-9 and blew a 3-1 lead in the finals to Lebron James and the Cavaliers prompting multiple jokes from the never forgiving social media platform.
Following the loss they added all star Kevin Durant and they ended up with 3 straight trips back to the finals, winning two against the Cavaliers and losing most recently to the Toronto Raptors.
Now in 2020, they sit on one of the worst records in the NBA and they live in a new arena. How did a one prominent dynasty fall apart so fast?
It all goes back to 2009 and when it all began. That year, the Warriors had the 7th pick in the draft.
They knew who they wanted, and so did the New York Knicks. The Warriors wanted Steph Curry, a shooting phenom from A-10 school Davidson. The Knicks also wanted Curry, and they had the 8th pick.
The Warriors of course did the right thing and took Curry and thus, the Knicks still remain the Knicks.
Two years later, the Warriors took a guard from Washington State by the name of Klay Thompson. That was a huge pick and a good one as he and Curry combined to form “The Splash Brothers”.
The next season they drafted Harrison Barnes in the first round and Draymond Green in the second round who proved to be vital in their defense.
After acquiring Andre Iguodala via trade from the Philadelphia 76ers, the rise of the Warriors dynasty would begin.
Fast forward to 2020, Iggy is gone via trade to the Grizzlies, Durant left to join Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn and both Steph and Klay are injured.
Draymond is the only guy left and they now have former Nets star D’Angelo Russell as a starter. Yes, the same Russell who tried to hide contraband or some liquid in a container at an airport security where it is known that liquids are not allowed.
The roster is not the same and the mystique and lore is no longer there. No one looks at this team as a legit contender while the Lakers with Lebron and the Clippers with Kawhi now rule the Western Conference.
A legit argument could be made that the Warriors would even struggle in the Eastern Conference and might even give the Knicks a challenge.
Yes the same Knicks mentioned earlier that has an owner who gets in the headlines for ALL the wrong reasons, the same franchise that gets in their own way, the same franchise who has reporter and players exiled for criticizing the culture.
How did the Warriors land in the same breath as the Knicks? This journey of greatness to fall is comparable to the St. Louis Arch. The same journey occurred for the St.Louis Rams back in the day ironically.
Like the Warriors, the Rams in the late 1990’s hit paydirt in the draft grabbing good players like Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce while trading for Marshall Faulk and signing UDFA QB Kurt Warner.
The “Greatest Show On Turf” was born and they went off with points getting to Super Bowl XXXIV and winning by a yard. They returned in 2001 once again to Super Bowl XXXVI and they looked to be starting a large dynasty.
But they ran into the Michigan man and the hoodie genius of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. 60 minutes later and an Adam Vinatieri FG later, the 20-17 loss started the Patriots run to the top and the Rams sunk into depression.
The Rams would return to the big game in 2018, once again to lose to the Patriots 13-3. The point was that it took nearly two decades to capture that magic.
Basketball is different as one player can change a fortune but in the Warriors case, there is no single star. This is a true team and head coach Steve Kerr is responsible for that.
Durant’s comments about the tough times in Golden State could be true, but we all know he is grateful to have won with the team and he harbors no harsh words to his former teammates.
But it begs the question: Where do they go from here?
Maybe the Warriors could get lucky again and draft a new young star to revitalize the franchise along with Curry and Thompson when they get back to full health.
As for now, the worry for the warriors is palpable and this season is at a low. It could turn around, but maybe it won’t.
All great things come to an end eventually, but the Warriors run was a major part of NBA History and should be respected for it’s place.