Thursday, November 5, 2015

Golden State Warriors. Best ever?

Professional sports "dynasties" have pretty well gone the way of dinosaurs. They're not coming back. We'll never again see the likes of the NY Yankees, Boston Celtics, or Montreal Canadiens rattling off one championship after another. In today's sports world, a team faces a big-time uphill battle just repeating as a champion -- once.

This is due to several factors, not the least of which is called "parity". The various leagues have built in mechanisms that make prolonged dominance almost impossible. There's the draft, where bad teams get to select the best players. The schedule makers, particularly in the NFL, hand bad teams patsy schedules the following year while lining up a formidable gauntlet for teams that went deep into the playoffs the year before.

Players that have excelled on good teams typically want more money. The salary cap comes into play. Even if a big market team is awash in do-re-mi, they're not allowed to spend it to sign or resign all the best players that are available.

And, or course, there's the ever-present free agency. Players routinely jump ship for better opportunities elsewhere -- see money -- or maybe the chance to win a championship they wouldn't have had on their former teams. But that pesky salary cap looms over them as well. An already good team is likely maxed out on the cap, so fitting in a star free agent that wants big bucks is quite the financial juggling act.

The NY York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers, Chicago Bulls, LA Lakers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and San Fran 49ers all had their mini-dynasties, but they couldn't last for the reasons given above. Remember the infamous chest-thumping media spectacle when Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh appeared on stage to announce their Miami Heat would win not one, not two, not five, not six, ad nauseum, championships. They bagged two and Lebron bailed back to Cleveland. Hardly a dynasty, and Miami has fallen off the radar since.

Now it's the Golden State Warriors. They cruised to the NBA championship last year. Will they repeat? Entirely possible. Though the season is young, the Warriors look as formidable, perhaps more so, than last year. These guys have got it seriously going on.

They posted a very impressive 67-12 regular season record last year on their march to the title. Now the question seems to be -- can they put up the best record of all time this year? Maybe.

The best record ever was turned in by the Chicago Bulls back in the mid 90s, after Michael Jordan's ill-fated attempt at becoming a major league baseball player. Dude could't hit a breaking ball so he went back to hoops. Those Bulls remain #1 with a 72-10 regular season record. Number one of all time is quite a mouthful. Looking back, one wonders how that team was beaten 10 times. They were just that good.

But could the 2015-2016 Warriors outdo Michael, Scotty, the Worm, and the Zen Master's triangle offense to post the best regular season record of all time? They've got the talent, but it depends on a couple things.

First of all, they know they're good. Can they keep their egos in check as the season goes on? Unknown. If their heads get bigger than their work ethic, it would not bode well.

Second, they have to stay healthy. Yes, the Warriors have depth, but a key injury here or there could make a big difference. One never knows about such things. They happen all the time to even the best conditioned athletes.

Third, will the Warriors still be as driven as they were last year? Many teams, after winning a championship the year before, experience a collective let-down after having reached the mountaintop. Been there, done that. Repeating is tough, especially when every other team will bring their A game trying to knock off the champs.

And the Western Conference of the NBA is no cake walk to begin with. There's a bunch of teams that are really good. And hungry. See Oklahoma City, Houston, the LA Clippers, Dallas, and the ever-present San Antonio Spurs, who recently landed a dynamite free-agent to bolster their already championship caliber roster.

But the Warriors remain the class of the field -- if they really want it bad enough and continue to play hard throughout the season.

If so, it's entirely possible they could put up the best single season record of all time. If they bring their A game every night, it's almost hard to believe they'll get beat ten times. They're just that good -- if they want to be -- and stay injury free.

We'll see.......

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