Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Golden State. Beginning of a dynasty?

The Golden State Warriors finally polished off the Cleveland Cavs and are now champions of the world. Or at least the NBA. Before they'd even showered up after the deciding Game 6 there was already talk of whether the Oakland bunch could become a dynasty.

Technically, a dynasty is defined as a group or family that maintains power for several generations. The Roman empire was certainly a dynasty. The Chinese have had many in history. And the Bushes and the Clintons keep working at it, but -- well -- maybe that's better left for others to debate. Yet in the world of sports, the word dynasty means different things to different people.

The Boston Celtics of the late 50s and 60s were considered a dynasty. They won something like 11 championships in 13 years.

John Wooden's UCLA mens basketball team of roughly the same era would qualify as well. They were virtually unbeatable for a decade.

Teams like the New York Yankees and Montreal Canadiens were once considered dynasties.

So were the Chicago Bulls in the 90s.

Tiger Woods was a one man golf dynasty not long ago.

Head coach Geno Auriemma of the UConn Lady Huskies hoopsters certainly has dynasty credentials. As did former coach Pat Summitt of the Tennessee Lady Vols. Her time is done, but Geno's still there and will likely shatter all the records before he calls it quits.

And then there's mini-dynasties. Wayne Gretzsky's Edmonton Oilers, the New York Islanders, and the showtime LA Lakers all had their runs. But none lasted more than a few consecutive years.

But like the modern definition of a "hero" -- and lord knows they're everywhere these days -- qualifying as a dynasty in sports seems to have become watered down as well.

Some say the San Antonio Spurs were a dynasty. They won 4 titles, but it took them over a decade to do so. Should that count? How about the hey-days of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, and Miami Hurricanes on the gridiron? Were they dynasties or just really good for several years? Throw in the New England Patriots. All of them won multiple titles in a relatively short period of time, but never more than two in a row.

And now we have the Golden State Warriors. What they did this year was no fluke. Start to finish, they were the best team in the NBA. Could they become a dynasty? Maybe. Consider....

They're young. On their 15 man roster, only 4 players are over 30, none over 32. That's includes Finals MVP Andre Iguodala, age 31. Overall MVP Steph Curry is 27. Fellow splash brother Klay Thompson 25. Unsung hero (there we go again) Draymond Green is only 25 as well. The former Michigan State Spartan is not only skilled, but tough and tenacious, making life miserable for opponents on the court. Add in various other players that not only got game, but have 100% "bought in" to the system and there's no telling what the Warriors are capable of in the future.

Let's not forget, this was head coach Steve Kerr's first year. A rookie himself in that regard. He and the Warriors won 67 regular season games, the most ever by a rookie head coach in the history of the NBA. Sure, Kerr didn't just exactly fall off a turnip truck. Once upon a time, he was the backcourt teammate of a guy named Michael Jordan while the above-mentioned Chicago Bulls dynasty was going on. But nobody knew if he could coach, and certainly few would have foreseen what the Warriors would accomplish this year under his leadership.

All the way around, things point to the Warriors possibly being even better next year. Kerr has a year under his belt. The team is still young and now knows what it takes to become champions. A scary thought given how good they already are. Could they rattle off several titles in a row to become a "dynasty"?

Probably not. Remember when Lebron James "took his talents" to Miami and famously boasted they would win not one, not two, not three, not four, not five -- you get the idea -- but insinuated a dynasty was coming to South Beach while jiving it up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on stage? Lebron won exactly two and the Miami Heat were demolished by the San Antonio Spurs in their attempt at a three-peat. Lebron went back to Cleveland and the Heat promptly went into the dumpster. So much for the dynasty.

Credit where credit is due. The Golden State Warriors were the best team all year and are worthy champions indeed. But as the old saying goes, it's tough to get to the top but even tougher to stay there. A lot of factors could potentially come into play. Smugness and complacency are possibilities. The Warriors were hungry this year. Next season everything starts over and a lot of teams will be hungry. Everybody's going to bring their A game when they face Golden State. Kerr's crew was fortunate because they suffered no major injuries during the last season. Sometimes stuff happens.

There's no better example of that than the Cleveland Cavaliers. Given they were without big man Anderson Varejao and prized free agent Kevin Love, and lost point guard Kyrie Irving earlier during the playoffs, it's amazing they made it as far as they did. Had those three been healthy, the Finals may well have turned out differently. Or maybe not.

Dumbest remark of the day Dept. Towards the end of the deciding Game 6, when it was apparent Golden State would prevail, some TV announcer said it looked like the Cavs weren't even trying. Where is the the toughness?, he asked. Idiot. The Cavs had been playing the whole series severely under-manned with guys on the court few had ever even heard of before. Lebron might be the "king", but he's not Superman. After the fast-paced Warriors had run them up and down the court during a grueling series, their gauge had finally hit the dreaded "E". It had nothing to do with toughness or will. They'd already shown that with what they had. But out of gas is out of gas.

And speaking of gasbags, this post has run on long enough......

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