How was the Golden State Warriors assembled?
It is difficult to assemble a champion team. It is even more difficult to assemble a dynasty, a team whose “champion window” would be not 3-4 seasons, but much longer. In the modern world of the NBA, champions usually gather quickly – and they “die” quickly. “Celtics” convened the All-Star team in one off-season, but time did not spare the veterans. After the Gasol trade, the Lakers re-believed in the power of the stars and overwhelmed the line-up without learning anything from the mistakes of 2004. “Mavericks” tried on the Chicago mantra “Titles win organizations” and destroyed the champion line-up too sharply, but the new one was not collected. And in the face of “Warriors” we may have the heirs of “San Antonio” – the most stable organization of the NBA, which is loyal to its players, pays great attention to the draft, does not try to lure foreign stars, but raises its own ones (and in this FGP even selects drawings from “Spurs” and signs them with his name).
The Golden State went to its first title in 40 years, gradually, step by step, improving the roster, management, coaching staff. A year after the triumph of the Warriors was on the verge of repeating success. Perhaps we see the transformation of a simple champion into the most formidable dynasty in sports in the 21st century. But all this was conceived completely without fanfare and spotlights.
They made GSW came the reality: Stephen Curry
How he got into the club: in 2010, one of the minority owners of the Celtics, Joe Lacob, decided to buy his own NBA franchise and (along with another Boston-born Peter Guber) won the auction for the Golden State Warriors for a funny 450 million. Lakob inherited Don Nelson’s extravagant team, where people like Anthony Morrow, Mikey Moore, Anthony Tolliver, Ronnie Tyuriaf and Vladimir Radmanovich played at the start. Don Nelson was immediately retired, the lineup was brushed, and while other clubs were fighting for LeBron, Bosch, Wade and Amare, FGP quietly signed David Lee, who saw the franchise player or at least the second star next to Monta Ellis.
As it turned out, the real franchise has long been in the club. It was Don Nelson’s last gift to basketball: in the 2009 draft, the Warriors took the 7th number of a skinny teenager from a small Davidson college named Stephen Curry. Moreover, FGPs initially had to exchange this peak at Sans at Amara Staudmayra, since most wanted to see Curry in their club wanted the GM Phoenix. Who was Steve Kerr. But at the last moment, the Warriors decided to keep Curry at home, which seriously angered Sans management, who proposed to Curry the heir of Steve Nash. Perhaps this brought Don Nelson to suspicion, because it was he who once created Nash.
The early years of Stefa in the NBA passed with a creak – Curry was no more impressive than those playing near Reggie Williams or Dorell Wright; no one could determine whether he was a point guard or shooting guard, and in the third season his ankles made him miss most of the season. In 2012, Stephen underwent the second-year operation on the right ankle, and soon extended his contract by 44 million until 2017. For comparison, in the same summer, Tai Lawson received a similar extension of 48 million, and this seemed like a better investment than ever-lame Curry. But in the 12/13 season, we had a completely different Curry and completely different Warriors. Without Monta Ellis, the ball completely belonged to Steph, and although David Lee still drove to the All-Star Game from FGP, it became clear that a new star was growing before our eyes. In the playoffs, Lee was injured – Curry grabbed the banner and stunned Denver in the first round (ironically, beating that Lawson himself). Every next season, Steph is better than the previous one: cost centers in 2014, MVP in 2015, MVP with 100% of the votes in 2016. It is not clear how to support this uptrend in the future, but Curry will come up with something.
How to conduct the playoffs: the knee injury that Steph received in the series against the Rockets crumpled up his personal playoffs, but the strength of the Warriors lies not in Curry alone. The partners supported their leader, and in the key matches Curry himself was good: see the fourth meeting with Portland (40 + 9 + 8), the last three games against Thunder (32.7 points and 47% from behind the arc), the fourth match against Cleveland (38 points and a nail in the cover one minute before the end). All these matches could not be lost. Curry did not allow defeat.
They say that Curry plays well only when he “flies”. The problem with the rest of the NBA is that Curry “flies” precisely when it is necessary to play well. The situation with the contract: for the next season, Stefa will receive 12 million, after which he will become a free agent and will sign the maximum contract with a starting salary of more than 30 million dollars.
How to get to the club: getting rid of Mont Ellis not only made Stephen Curry a chance to develop, but also opened the way for Clay Thompson to start. Like Curry, Clay was assessed before the draft as a man who had sat out in a small college for too long, and therefore all his exploits in students could not transform into something similar in the NBA. But Thompson was not only interested in the “Warriors” – the always cunning “Spurs” were trying to get up to the draft pick to get Clay. It was not possible, under the 11th number Thompson went to the “Golden State” (CAC had to “be content” with Kavai Lenard).
This same 11th issue, Clay Thompson wears on his uniform and, like many Draft Styles, never forgets how many teams ignored him in the draft. “Kawz” took the wrong Thompson,” Clay later said. Thompson turned out to be an ideal partner for Curry on a backcourt: ready to play without a ball, taking charge of the best perimeter player from an opponent, throwing from a distance not worse than Curry himself, and therefore distracting himself. Like Steph, Clay progresses every season since appearing in the NBA.
How to hold the playoffs: took care of Harden, Lillard, Westbrook, Irving, scored 41 points in the most important sixth game of the West final against Oklahoma, beat the record for three-pointers. While everyone was discussing Phlegmatic Curry and Choleric Green, the team was often led by Thompson, a man who seemed to have no temperament at all or to be not a man at all but the Terminator, whom he was christened by the club’s general manager Bob Myers. The situation with the contract: Clay two years ago signed an extension of the contract, which was slightly below the maximum and valid until 2019. Thompson will get 17-19 million a year for three more seasons – a contract that seemed to be overpaid to someone is now one of the best in the league.
The man who saved the season for the Golden State
During the time-out for 4.54 before the end of the second quarter of the sixth match of the Western finals, Luke Walton felt that the moment of truth had come for the Warriors magic season – “Thunder” had 11 points, and someone had to say unpleasant words. Walton shouted in a pause that in the third and fourth games on the home arena, “Thunder” broke away from the “Warriors” at the end of the first half. He asked: do not let them do it again in the remaining five minutes. Walton understood that such a critical moment was not the best time to remind one of defeat. “You always do not want to sow doubts and remind players of negative situations. But it seemed to me that I should say this. There was nothing to regret. And I knew that our boys would get together.” Immediately, Draymond Green began to repeat Walton, the players recalled. Steph Curry said the same thing: you need to reserve the last five minutes. Clay Thompson, as usual, said nothing – at least neither he nor anyone else remembers anything.
Thompson is half the Splash Brothers duet and the most inconspicuous representative of the trio of Golden State superstars. Green is the team’s burning soul, Curry’s MVP two-time hacked the basketball code, Thompson … When Curry and Thompson rested together in Spain a few years ago, local people approached them, gave Thompson cameras and asked them to take them off with Curry. But it was Thompson who saved the Warriors season in that match in Oklahoma City, and it was Thompson who was the best and most stable player of the team throughout the playoffs.
“I will never admit that someone can beat me,” says Thompson. This time Thompson resisted much stronger. He cannot hold James alone, but makes him work a lot more, spend much more energy and more time to win every inch of space. He even kept Kevin Love in his whiskers when the Warriors switched to pick-and-roll Irving and Love. Love gave an unattractive 5 of 15 in post-ups in four games against the Golden State this season and has never been able to make a violation. In the course of this playoff defense, Thompson acted mainly against: James Harden, Lillard, Russell Westbrook and the Irving / James combination. We often hear that people like Harden and James do too much in the attack, and therefore need rest on the other half. Thompson runs after the same comrades for 35 minutes per match, while being the leader of the Warriors in performance and gives an unrealistic 44% from a distance of 10 attempts per match. “Just think about this load,” says Kerr. – To do this while throwing like him? This is incredible.” He also overcomes more distance – about 4 kilometers per game – than any of his partners. “He never gets tired,” says Walton.
Even the most optimistic managers did not see anything like it in 2011 – a clear lack of interest still makes Thompson furious. He was considered too calm, disinterested, having no desire to expand life horizons and work on the game. In the first season, the Warriors forced him to read George Dormann’s Game with All His Heart, an amazing book on the world of amateur basketball in the West Coast — this was an attempt to get Thompson out of his comfort zone and “make him think of something besides basketball,” Lakob explains. The draft experts considered it too slow to defend at a high level. “I read reports that said: “He needs to work on defense, he is not fast enough, he cannot defend himself,” Thompson says. – And I asked myself: “Have these guys ever seen me at all?”
Information about Thompson was so controversial that the Spurs needed to conduct two personal training sessions before deciding to go after him in the draft. After the first, Chick Engelland, the spurs roll guru, told the management things from which their hair stood on end: Thompson’s alleged thirst for struggle reminded him of Manu Ginobili. And everyone in the club agrees with this: no one worries because of defeats more than he. “He loses the way you want your players to lose,” says assistant coach of the Golden State, Ron Adams. “The loss hits him right in the heart.” So far he has not exploded in the final series, but even his 17 points and 5 assists in the second match showed an increasing range of skills. Before the 2011 draft, few people imagined that he would have something similar. A lot of people defended against Irving, clinging to him, pursuing him through barriers, destroying the space that Irving needed to make throws from an average distance.