The Warriors did it again on Tuesday night, winning in exciting, entertaining and improbable fashion. They beat the Atlanta Hawks 109-105 in overtime, and on this night it was Draymond Green hitting and improbable 3-pointer to seal the deal.
The Warriors are now 54-5 and it’s getting tougher and tougher to find different ways to talk about them, different ways to compliment them, different ways to describe what exactly they’re doing.
There’s almost a sameness to the Warriors right now – they always win, whether it’s a blowout, a nail-biter or anything in between. How many times can you say the Warriors are great? How many times can you try to put this season in historic terms? How many times can you praise Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson or Draymond Green or, hell, even Ian Clark?
Innumerable things must come together for a team to have this kind of season, this kind of year-and-a-half run. It doesn’t just come down to Curry … or the Warriors’ defense … or their 3-point shooting … their competitiveness. Of course, those are all big pieces but there are countless others.
Here’s one I’ve been thinking about: The triangle of general manager Bob Myers, coach Steve Kerr and Curry, the franchise player. There is absolutely no doubt that an integral part of Golden State’s success is those three guys and the fact that none of them brings any ego or selfishness to the table.
It is rare in the NBA to find a GM, coach and star all on the same page, let alone one as humble down-to-earth as this group.
If you’ve ever heard Myers talk on the radio or television what you hear is, plain and simple, a good guy, nice guy, someone who treats people with respect, whether you’re a fan, media, ballboy, whoever.
Myers doesn’t easily take credit or praise for what’s going on. He talks about not screwing it up or staying out of the way. He brings a calmness that isn’t easily measured. The Warriors’ decision-making group includes owner Joe Lacob, minority owner Jerry West, assistant general managers Travis Schlenk and Kirk Lacob and director of player personnel Larry Harris.
It can’t be easy to manage all of that. But Myers does it, and he does it in an understated way.
Has there ever been a coach who’s deflected more than Kerr over the past two years? When Kerr took over for the fired Mark Jackson it was a sensitive issue, but Kerr has never failed to give Jackson credit for laying a great foundation. Kerr has never downplayed Jackson’s importance in turning the Warriors into a winning team.
When it comes to Kerr’s own coaching, he’s constantly self-effacing and always shoveling compliments to his staff or players. When Luke Walton had to coach the first part of this season because of Kerr’s health issues, expectations were exceeded. It’s possible Walton’s success could have made some staffs uncomfortable or some head coaches insecure. Not Kerr. He used the whole experience to talk about what a great job Walton did and how he’ll be a great head coach in the future.
When you take a look at the star players around the NBA, you realize Curry is head and shoulders above most – not just because he’s a better player but because he’s a better person. Curry is a better basketball player than anyone else in the league or on his team right now, but you wouldn’t know it. He doesn’t act better than other people. Curry is inclusive, he roots for his teammates and he’s never been concerned with stuff like the Warriors being “his team” or the offensive pecking order.
Tim Duncan had that a few years back, in his prime, but who else has the total package of Curry right now? You know the answer.
Of course Curry is a huge part of the Warriors’ success … Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and a whole bunch of others, too. But for a team to have this kind of run, this kind of stretch of historic basketball, you need things clicking on every level. And right now, the Warriors do.