Usually, after the first couple of weeks of the NBA season the novelty of having basketball back is gone and doesn’t really reappear until the New Year comes.
It’s inevitable. The season can be a six-month slog that may entertain the diehards the entire time, but for the average fan, by now the only thing on the horizon that warrants excitement are the Christmas Day games.
But even for the average basketball fan, or even for the most fair-weather of sports fans, the way the Golden State Warriors are dominating basketball has made their games must-watch television. While the last team to stay undefeated usually lasts only four or five games every season, the Warriors have started the season 14-0, and are showing no signs of stopping short of 16-0, which would break the record for longest undefeated streak to start the season.
This hot start is by no means a stroke of luck. While it largely gets swept under the rug, last year Golden State became just the 10th team ever to win 67 games in a season, and just the eighth team to average a 10-point margin of victory. Led by reigning MVP Stephen Curry, the team has seemed to up the ante, as their average margin of victory is a stupefying 14.5 points a game.
As for Curry’s individual encore, he currently leads the league with 33.6 points per game, along with over 5 made three-pointers per game. At this rate he will make 415 threes by the end of the year, which would eviscerate the record for threes made in a season of 286 held by… Stephen Curry from last season. Not even 20 per cent into the season, Curry stands as an overwhelming favourite to repeat as MVP as he brings his team to lead the league in points, assists, field goal percentage, made threes, and three-point percentage, as well as leading the league in just about any offensive metric that exists.
You might be asking, “What does it mean when the defending champions look even better than they did last year and have their best player in the midst of a career year?” Well, the answer is: history. This team last year was caught up in a tough Western Conference, still having yet to make it past the second round of playoffs with a first-time coach figuring out how to lead an NBA team.
Now, they’re brimming with confidence, shooting at historic levels and with a seemingly unmatched chemistry as a team. While this may sound premature, the Warriors are already garnering comparisons with the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, widely considered the greatest basketball team of all time, led by Michael Jordan to a record 72-10 season.
Obviously it’s a long way away until that comparison can be fairly made, but the fact that Golden State is even making one of the NBA’s most sacred and unbeatable records seem mortal shows just how scary this team is. So far, no one has found an answer for this team, but the games are getting closer and it is only inevitable that Golden State will take their first loss sometime soon. But even when they do, Curry and the Warriors will still be the both the best and most exciting team in the NBA, and every game this year will have the chance to be something special as they chase history.