The Golden State Warriors have done what no other team in NBA history has. With their win over the hapless Los Angeles Lakers recently, the Warriors became the first team to begin a season with 16 consecutive wins. They have now bested the previous mark of 15-0 set by the 1948-49 Washington Capitols and the 1993-1994 Houston Rockets.
With relatively easy games against the Phoenix Suns (today), Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz, and the Charlotte Hornets, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to predict that the Warriors could easily reach 20-0. From there, they have a chance to beat the 1971-1972 Los Angeles Lakers’ regular season win streak of 33-0. This record still stands in all of American professional sports. In order to beat this seemingly insurmountable record, the Warriors will have to remain spotless until January 4, 2016 and beat the Charlotte Hornets.
The Warriors’ historic run is amazing since they are doing it with dominance, style, and beautiful basketball we haven’t seen in ages. To put things in perspective, Golden State has been beating teams by a whopping 15.6 points per game, 75% better than the next best team (San Antonio has a point differential of 8.9).
Key to their amazing run is their unparalleled talent, line-up flexibility, and championship culture.
On talent, the reigning league MVP Steph Curry is simply dominant. He is currently leading the league in scoring (32.1 points) while contributing 5.1 rebounds and nearly 6 assists per game. What is more impressive is that he is shooting 51.2% of his field goals, a scorching 43.1% from beyond the arc, and 94% of his free throws. You can’t get anymore efficient than that.
Together with fellow shooter Klay Thompson, Draymond Green who can play and defend five positions, the versatile Harrison Barnes and defensive ace Andre Iguodala, one wonders if the Warriors can actually be beaten. No team has figured out how to beat this small ball line-up that destroys opponents night in and night out. This line-up is deployed during tight games and has a net rating – points per 100 possessions on offense minus points per 100 possessions on defense – of 71.1 points. No line-up has reached a plus rating of 36 points since this statistic was used in 2008.
The Warriors won’t go unbeaten in all 82 games but they are definitely on track to surpass the 1996 Chicago Bulls whose 72-10 win-loss record is the best in the league’s 70-year history.
The defending champions are on a tear and with their young core, they are on the cusp of a dynasty. The type of dynasty that could very well revolutionize the way basketball is played. Barring any injuries, I wouldn’t be surprised if Golden State raises another championship trophy come June.