Santoliquito: It’s Time To Appreciate The Warriors

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Golden State Warriors have been referred to as a “superteam.” There’s no question that they are. It’s a team that has gone 14-0 in the postseason and 81-15 overall. The last time the Warriors lost was on April 11, snapping a 14-game winning streak. It’s also the last time they failed to score 100 or more points in a game.

Yet, the naysayers like braying at the moon, or to anyone willing to listen, that the Warriors wouldn’t be where they are without Kevin Durant showing up at their doorstep. No kidding. And the 1983 Philadelphia 76ers wouldn’t have been the team it turned out to be without acquiring Moses Malone, or the 72-10 Chicago Bulls of 1995-96 wouldn’t have been who they were without obtaining Dennis Rodman.

See a pattern here?

It was Durant’s choice to join the Warriors. He’s fit well with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green—no easy task considering there’s one ball and a bunch of egos to satisfy.

That’s why all-time great teams become all-time great teams, because their stars are willing to sacrifice parts of their game to fit within a framework, and currently, no team works better with all of its stars aligned than the Golden State Warriors. They’re beating their playoff opponents by an average of 16.9 points a game. They’re a basketball ballet, with all of their gleaming parts moving as one. They’ve won the first two games of the NBA Finals by an average of 20.5 points a game, and there was nothing one of the all-time great players, LeBron James, was able to do about it.

Game 3 is tonight in Cleveland, and another lopsided Warriors’ victory all but ends the series—and certifies the brilliance of what is undoubtedly a special team.

Still, the whining continues.

A few weeks ago, Paul Pierce compared Durant joining the Warriors to a kid befriending the schoolyard bullies instead of getting beat up by them. Doc Rivers, who coached Pierce and that “superteam” 2008 Boston Celtics squad with Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo, questioned Durant’s competitive spirit.

Charles Barkley recently criticized the NBA for how lopsided the scores have been in the playoffs.

So what?

For years, baseball fans hated the New York Yankees, who fielded superteam after superteam. Not many like Tom Brady. Why, because he wins. Sidney Crosby has mountains of detractors. A big reason why is because he’s excellent—and he doesn’t play for their team.

So maybe, just maybe, the Golden State Warriors are that good—and that special.

And maybe it’s time they’re appreciated on that pantheon with other all-time great NBA championship teams.

What’s wrong with that?

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