- The Warriors are four NBA Finals wins away from world dominance, and only LeBron James can stop them. Let's weigh the pros and cons of their success.
Objectively, the Warriors have made the NBA a little less fun. Remember last season when other Western Conference playoff teams actually won games? Since adding Kevin Durant, Golden State has basically been on cruise control through the last 10 months, with the NBA Finals set to begin on June 1. And even now, would you really be completely surprised if the Dubs somehow managed to sweep the Cavs? The only thing standing in the way of complete Warriors world domination is LeBron James, who, on second thought, is a pretty good person to have in your corner when you’re trying to prevent world domination.
While the Warriors may have made basketball as a whole slightly less intriguing, they are also fun as hell to watch, and therein lies the conflict. Should you root for the Golden State Warriors? Here’s a pro/con list to help you make your decision.
Pro: Villains are cool
Growing up, I was always the kid who wanted the bad guy to win. Doctor Octopus was just misunderstood! In all seriousness, while the Warriors may make for corny supervillains at times, the ruthless nature with which they have dispatched the rest of their conference is pretty entertaining. Golden State is so relentless on the basketball court. You know that annoying thing movie villains do where they explain their evil plot only to ruin said plot because they spent too much time explaining instead of executing? The Warriors actually execute. They waste no time in laying waste to opponents. Golden State is like the Darth Vader of the NBA if Vader never turned into a sad-sack old dad. Y’all really want to ride for sister-kisser Luke? Nah, I’d much rather be in the corner of the basketball team that chokes people with their mere presence on the court.
Con: Joe Lacob
Warriors owner Joe Lacob is kind of a dunce. Just look at this savage line from his Wikipedia page, which references Lacob’s infamous New York Times interview where, among other choice comments, he wouldn’t really give Stephen Curry credit for the team’s success. “Lacob generated some controversy by calling his team 'light years' ahead of everybody else in the NBA during the 2015–16 NBA season. They would later blow a 3–1 lead in the 2016 NBA Finals.” Even Wikipedia’s got 3–1 jokes! Lacob also made himself a certified creep when he implied he had intimate relations with the Larry O’Brien trophy after Golden State won the Finals in 2015.
Pro: Joe Lacob
Then again, if I had the trophy for only one night…
Con: Competitive basketball
If the Warriors win the title this season, it’s hard to imagine the team breaking up in a significant way. Maybe Durant takes less than the full max so the team can retain Andre Iguodala. Maybe Stephen Curry does the same so Golden State can add another bench player. Whatever the case, as long as the Warriors retain the core of of Curry-Thompson-Durant-Draymond Green, it almost doesn't matter what the rest of the league does. LeBron would have to form a megasuperteam to be favored in a series against those guys, and even then it may not be enough.
Golden State is scary not only because of what they can do this season, but also because the organization is set up for immense future success, which mildly disincentivizes other teams from going all-in for a title. What you end up with is one overwhelming favorite and a bunch of pseudo-contenders afraid to make a move because they want to wait out the prime(s) of the juggernaut. We’ve already seen this happen to an extent in the East, where teams don’t feel quite ready to go at LeBron.
There’s been some talk about what the NBA can do to get rid of superteams, or at least have more competitive balance. Unfortunately, ideas like abolishing the draft or getting rid of the salary cap are either unrealistic or many, many, many, many years away. In the meantime, the Warriors should continue to dominate, which could mean more boring postseasons for us.
Pro: Steve Kerr
Steve Kerr deserves so much better than what he’s going through right now. I would be shocked if Kerr returned to coach during the Finals, as he continues to deal with complications from a back surgery he underwent in 2015. Kerr is not only an incredible leader, as Chris Ballard wonderfully detailed for SI, but he also seems like a legitimately cool dude. Kerr’s patience and thoughtfulness with the media isn’t only good for journalists, but it’s great for fans, who can learn something about the NBA’s best team almost every time he speaks. Kerr’s comfort speaking on politics, and the unique perspective he offers, often leads to well-reasoned, hard-to-argue responses to the chaotic nature of our current state of affairs. You can hate the Warriors, but at the very very least, Kerr deserves your respect.
Con: Draymond Green
At least he mostly stopped kicking men between the legs.
Pro: Draymond Green
Paul Pierce’s career didn’t end when the Clippers were knocked out of the playoffs. It ended on Feb. 24, 2017.