There’s something big happening in the NBA. It’s something big in a relatively not-so-big package.
I’m talking about the Golden State Warriors and what they’re doing to transform the game and excite fan bases in every city in which they play. In case you haven’t heard, the Warriors haven’t lost a game all season. They own a consecutive wins streak that dates back to end of the last regular season, and they show no signs of slowing down.
Here are five reasons you should be watching Golden State basketball. And yes, that means staying up late at night for those West coast games. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
- The Warriors are exciting to watch. The speed, the pace, the tempo; it’s all frenetic. In the same way watching the new NHL overtime format of 3 on 3 is super exciting, so is Warriors basketball. The move and flow on the court like a bunch of teenagers at the YMCA fueled by Red Bull and youthful exuberance. It’s borderline exhausting to watch.
- This team is unprecedentedly historic. No team in the 69-year history of the NBA has remained undefeated this long at the start of season (twenty-three games). With Tuesday night’s win, they’ve tied the Miami Heat for consecutive regular season wins with twenty-seven dating back to last season. They may continue to make history (but more on that in a bit).
- Golden State is evolving the game. Not only are the Warriors historic, they’re also futuristic. You’re watching the NBA change right in front of your eyes. In the same way the assault and battery defense on the part of big men in the paint (think Bill Lambier and Charles Oakley) gave way to increased perimeter play, what Golden State is doing is breaking all the rules of common NBA sense. And they just win along the way. The needs to have ‘bigs’ is diminished when you have players who can run and effectively hit jump shots from just about anywhere on the court.
- They make it rain. Speaking of hitting it from anywhere, this team is tré awesome, as in they’re awesome from beyond the arc. If you look at just Steph Curry’s numbers for three pointers, they’re mind-boggling. By comparison, Hall of Famer Larry Bird, one of the most dangerous and effective shooters of his generation, finished his career with a .496 field goal percentage. That number includes two and three pointers. Larry Legend made almost half of all the shots he took. Curry for his career is shooting .443 from three. He’s so good from distance, Curry has more three’s (663) in the last three reagular seasons (that’s two full years plus this year’s 23 games) than Bird made in his entire career (649). Curry’s splash brother Klay Thompson has 520 three pointers in the same period of time, including ten in Tuesday’s victory over Indiana.
- The De-Bron Effect. Once thought to be impossible, the Golden State Warriors have managed to occupy the SportsCenter limelight that LeBron James seemed to own for years. Even I, as a Miami fan that reveled in the championship runs of the LBJ led Heat, became tired of the ad nauseam coverage and over-analysis of LeBron. Now, when you tune into SportsCenter, LeBron is no longer the lead story. On some nights, you may not even hear James’ name mentioned until after the first commercial break. And as a fan still feeling a bit jilted by King James, that is such a welcomed change of pace.
Another reason to watch is the potentially seismic game that is on the horizon. The NBA record for the most consecutive victories is thirty-three games, and it is held by the’71-’72 Lakers. The Warriors will match that mark with six more victories. Their opponent six games from now? It’s the same team they defeated in the NBA Finals last year: LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers. So not only will there be heightened motivation on the part of both squads should Golden State enter that game undefeated, the game will be played on Christmas. Defending MVP Steph Curry will be looking to unwrap history for his franchise, while LeBron will be looking to play the role of Grinch.
Like I said, you need to be watching.