The Golden State Warriors have now begun their season as defending World Champions. They will be bringing the momentum of last year’s title to this year’s campaign. But as they start their season, why is no one talking about how they have a real chance to repeat? Is it because of the changes made in the NBA landscape, or is it the fact that last year’s title run was extremely lucky, and they were able to catch all the breaks on the way to their first title in 40 years?
Unlike last year’s team, the 2015-2016 Warriors are no longer coming into the season under the radar. They are no longer the up-and-coming team that has a bright future. After winning it all last season, they have the perennial bull’s eye on their backs, and everyone will see the coming. And after such a successful run last year, there is just one expectation from this year’s Golden State Warriors: repeat as champions. But can they do it again this year?
Despite finishing with the best record in the NBA and having season MVP Steph Curry, the Warriors were not considered to be the favorites of last year’s playoffs. They were still untested, and they were too young. Other teams like the Spurs, the Grizzlies, the Cavs and the Bulls had more headlines than the Warriors. But as each round progressed, the Warriors were able to move on and advance to the next round.
Their lucky streak started in the second round when they faced the Memphis Grizzlies, but lady luck smiled upon the boys from the bay as the Grizzlies were without their top point guard and leader, Mike Conley, in the first two games of the series. The next round, they faced the tough Houston Rockets. The Rockets were playing without defensive point guard Patrick Beverly, which would have defended Curry better than any other guard in the League. When they finally got to the Finals, they faced a Cavs team that was decimated by injuries, including missing power forwards Kevin Love and Anderson Varejao. But they got even luckier when the Cavs starting point guard Kyrie Irving got injured in Game 2 and was out for the remainder of Finals.
This string of luck breaks is even more impressive considering that the Warriors have players that are known to miss several games due to injury, including most of their starting lineup (including starting Point Guard Curry, Power Forward David Lee, and starting Center Andrew Bogut). But they had all managed to stay healthy throughout the playoffs. So the question is, did the Warriors win the NBA title on their merit last year or were they just lucky? Only they can answer that question with what kind of performance they put up this year.