The Warriors advance to the NBA Finals without Splash Brother’s superpowers in the past, making them even more impressive

In November of 2018, in the middle of what was to become a four-game losing streak and a week that wiped out the famous Draymond Green-Kevin Durant blowout, Steve Kerr told reporters that his Golden State Warriors team was finally beginning to get a taste of the “real” NBA. for professionals.”

Kerr Expansion “We’ve had such a charming presence in the past four seasons.” “This is the hardest stretch we’ve been through. This is the real NBA. We haven’t played in the real NBA for the past few years. We’ve been in that dream. Now we’re in a real ordeal and we have to get out of it ourselves.”

Kerr’s point was fair enough. The last threads of Kevin Durant’s era were fading. Injuries appeared. Perhaps the fictional part of the story is over. But this Warriors team, despite a few “adversities,” was still an all-time great team. They were definitely the best team in the league and the favorites to win it all.

This has not been the case at any time this season. I don’t care what the odds said at different points, or even what they would say when the finals open, whether against Boston or Miami. Yet here they are in their sixth final in the past eight years. for warriors, this is It’s the real NBA, where the imperfect team has to prove advantages – or at least closer to – the margins because Durant is gone and Splash Brother’s great powers of the past have been stripped and recycled into actual human parts.

It just makes this feat even more impressive.

Want adversity? Let’s start with Curry, who had, by far, the worst regular shooting season of his career before losing the last three weeks to a sprained ligament.

How about Draymond Green, who missed two months from early January to mid-March with a damaged disc in his back, a period during which the Warriors looked like a positively mediocre team.

Klay Thompson missed more than two calendar years with an ACL and Achilles rupture and fired 38.5 percent of 3 over 32 regular season games on his return, which, like Curry, marked the lowest mark of his career.

These guys are not the players they used to be, or at least they haven’t been this season. That doesn’t mean they’re still cool. It all has to do with the impossibly high standards they set. Curry was the second team in the NBA. Green would have been the best defensive player of the year had he not been hurt. But they are not the men who were in the first few chapters of the dynasty.

These 2014-19 guys were from another world. These guys can wipe out all sins previously committed with a five-minute nuclear prolongation of the three-point shooting that conjures up images of Michael J. Fox transforming into a wolf.

They’re still a threat, any given night One of those nights. Thompson did so on Thursday, clocking eight seconds on his way to 32 points. But you can no longer count on it. The Warriors ranked 16th in the league this season.

The first two postseasons to work with Durant on board, the Warriors outnumbered opponents by a total of 23.6 points per 100 possessions. The Warriors entered this game in Game 5 on Friday with a net plus rating of 4.8, and that’s against Denver who lost the second and third best players and the Grizzlies who didn’t have a Ja Morant in the last three games of the series. .

Thompson isn’t near a cannon, nor a consistent shooter, as he was a hit before the injury. Carrie is 34 years old. Gone are the days when Golden State ran out of frontier Hall of Fame in Andre Iguodala, at the height of his defensive and game-making power, as a sixth man. This version of Iggy is a fluke of his previous character and he hasn’t played since Match 3 of the first round.

You hear people talk about “championship DNA” and this is what it sounds like; The fireball shooter went on to win at the elite level after dropping from 100 mph on the radar pistol to a 94 or 95, which is still pretty cool, but it’s not a 100.

I don’t necessarily want to say it’s easy to win when you have three of history’s greatest shooters dropping shots from all over the building, or when standing defense can, and often does, almost choke off opponents’ lives on demand, but it’s certainly not the challenge he faced This team this season, when the margin of error was smaller than any other point in the previous qualifying rounds.

The Warriors have always been and still are a very skilled team, but this team had to find other, less exciting ways to win. Curry made up for his 3-point struggles by penetrating the paint — and finishing — with a better than 60 percent clip from 3-10 feet in the playoffs, by far the best number of his career. Kevin Looney had 22 rebounds in the Game 6 playoff over Memphis, and 18 in the playoff in Game 5 over Dallas. Jordan Ball shoots 53 percent in the first three playoffs of his career.

And what can we say about Andrew Wiggins? This is a man who was considered one of the worst decades in the league in Minnesota, became an All-Star for these Warriors, thrived as a secondary scorer and took over Thompson as a dedicated defender against professional scorers.

This is how you win without superpowers. Everyone participates. That includes the front desk, which traded for Wiggins and did some key signings. They discovered a gem in Gary Payton II. Resist the urge to trade Paul or Jonathan Cominga, or even Moses Moody or James Wiseman, to build their bridge to the next era without sacrificing their current core heroic potential. At the end of the day, the Warriors, albeit with fewer fireworks, put a post-season offensive rating in line with Durant’s years.

The Warriors still need four more wins for a fourth championship in the Kerr era, and indeed, this is an organization that expects to win it all. If they lose in the finals, they will not consider this season to be successful. But from the outside, it’s impossible not to rank this feat as the best of the era no matter how this next series goes.

When Durant left and Thompson came back so rusty and Carrie and Greene started to show signs of aging, it was, at least to me, like the Warriors needed big trade to get back into the conversation of the championship. How dare I ask any team with Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, not to mention the team that Steve Kerr coaches. For many years, the charming skill of this team was largely disguised as their brave, hard-edged, fiercely proud, and competitive nature, but these traits are now more apparent and necessary than ever. These guys are just winners. Simple and clear. And they haven’t finished yet.

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