“You don’t want to see us next year.” These are the words of Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors (GSW) on May 21, 2022. Fast-forward a year later, he walked the talk after winning the 2022 finals MVP and NBA title for the 4th time in eight years. But, this 2022 title was different from their past championship.
The Rise of the Warriors
Since 2014, the GSW has been dominating the league. Love them or hate them, they are one of the greatest teams ever formed. Steph along with his splash brother, Klay Thompson, changed the league with their volume and efficient three-pointers. They also had Draymond Green who anchored the defense of their small-ball rotation. This made the GSW the model for all teams in the league.
This team broke multiple records and won the title in 2015. They made it to the finals the following season with the best all-NBA record but blew their lead and lost to Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. To make this team an unstoppable force, they signed the sharp-shooter Kevin Durant in 2016 and won the next two titles.
The end of an era?
In 2019, the Warriors are on the road to a three-peat. But things change after their star players got season-ending injuries in the most important event. In game five of the finals, Kevin Durant suffers an Achilles injury. In game six, Klay Thompson was also injured with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. GSW lost that 2019 finals against the Toronto Raptors. Many fans and analysts believed that this was an end of an era.
Right after the 2019 finals. The GSW became the worst team in the league. Durant left the team and went to Brooklyn Nets. Klay was still injured and won’t play for two and a half seasons. The team went through multiple roster changes and injuries over the past years.
In 2020, five games into the season, Steph got injured and missed the remainder of the season. GSW has the league-worst record with 15-50. In 2021, Steph returned and ended the season with 39-33. Only on the outside looking in. That’s why in the 2022 season, no one expected the Warriors to win it all.
2022 Unpredicted Run
At the start of the 2021-2022 season, many people are discussing who would win it all. The names that were always brought up are Lebron and his Los Angeles Lakers, Durant and his Nets, maybe it’s a repeat of Giannis Antetokounmpo and his Milwaukee Bucks, are a revenge season of Chris Paul and his Phoenix Suns. In the end, it was Steph all along.
The GSW is built around players that fit their system. They kept the core with Steph, Klay, Green, and their aging 2015 finals MVP, Andre Iguodala. They found the potential of a G-league undrafted player, Gary Payton II, and gave chance to the falling career of Otto Porter Jr. Traded for the unproven superstar, Andrew Wiggins, and drafted the prospect, Jordan Poole.
The 2015 championship was a fluke. In 2016 they blew a 3-1 lead in the finals. In 2017 and 2018, they had Durant. But no one can say something against the 2022 championship run. The run cemented Steph’s legacy to be an all-time great player. During the run, he deservingly won his first finals MVP and became the all-time leader in three-pointers made.