At the beginning of the decade, the Spurs concocted the most efficient offense in the league, spreading the floor with three-point shooters, exploiting mismatches, moving off the ball movement and picking defenses apart with the extra pass.
The Warriors use those same principles, only with a twist. San Antonio weaponized smart role players to compensate for an aging nucleus. Steve Kerr uses Hall of Famers at the peak of their powers. The result: two titles in three years, with a record 73-win season sandwiched in between.
Expect nothing less in 2017--18: 91.4% of Golden State's offense from last year is returning. The only significant contributor to depart was backup shooting guard Ian Clark.
Even after a summer of overhauls and all-in plays from other contenders, the Dubs remain a problem that can't be solved. The more interesting question is how long this run will last and how it might end. Injuries? Egos? Luxury tax bills?
In the meantime, Golden State will continue with Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson in their primes, playing basketball in the smartest way possible.
COACH STEVE KERR
(4th season with Warriors)
2016--17 RECORD 67--15
(1st in Pacific)
3 [TOP 100 PLAYERS]
PG STEPHEN CURRY
25.3 PPG; 6.6 APG; 46.8 FG%; 41.1 3FG%
20 [TOP 100 PLAYERS]
SG KLAY THOMPSON
22.3 PPG; 3.7 RPG; 46.8 FG%; 41.4 3FG%
2 [TOP 100 PLAYERS]
SF KEVIN DURANT
25.1 PPG; 8.3 RPG; 53.7 FG%; 37.5 3FG%
10 [TOP 100 PLAYERS]
PF DRAYMOND GREEN
10.2 PPG; 7.9 RPG; 7.0 APG; 41.8 FG%
C ZAZA PACHULIA
6.1 PPG; 5.9 RPG; 1.9 APG; 53.4 FG%
46 [TOP 100 PLAYERS]
SF ANDRE IGUODALA
7.6 PPG; 4.0 RPG; 3.4 APG; 52.8 FG%
SG NICK YOUNG [NEW ACQUISITION]
13.2 PPG; 2.3 RPG; 43.0 FG%; 40.4 3FG%
PF DAVID WEST
4.6 PPG; 3.0 RPG; 2.2 APG; 53.6 FG%
• TOP 100 PLAYERS
A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP GOLDEN STATE
It's hard to even build a starting All-Star team to match up with them. Mine would be Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Even with those five, I'm not confident.... No one has solved their small-ball look: too much versatility on the defensive end, five playmakers on offense. Most teams can't get away with five playmakers because one or two won't be able to guard well enough. The Warriors still don't have a weak link.... KLAY THOMPSON was not bad during the playoffs; he was playing elite defense against great players. What he does for STEPH CURRY is priceless. He takes the best perimeter player, whether it's a point guard or a two guard. Plus, even if he's not making shots he's a threat. It's not like you can leave him.... NICK YOUNG has been a volume shooter his whole career. He won't get those touches, even in the second group. How does he react if they take him out or cut his role? ... KEVIN DURANT bought into the off-ball movement that we hadn't seen in OKC. By the end of the season it looked beautiful. You could tell he was energized by not needing to create every single shot. His defensive intensity and focus were better, and his activity on offense was way better.... DRAYMOND GREEN was my Defensive Player of the Year. He takes on guards and bigs—that sets him apart. He gets slap steals all the time.... The bench guy who excites me the most is PATRICK MCCAW. His growth will be important after they lost Ian Clark. He can slash, shoot, score with consistency from the wing.
TELLING 91.4 STATISTIC
Barring a major injury, the Warriors Era continues through next June.