The 2014-15 NBA season marked the start of the Golden State Warriors’ rise to power. After upsetting the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2015 NBA Finals to end their decades of title drought, the Warriors continued dominating the entire league and succeeded to build their own dynasty. Though James and the Cavaliers managed to bounce back in the 2016 NBA Finals by becoming the first NBA team to overcome a 3-1 deficit, the Warriors reclaimed their throne the following season and captured back-to-back NBA championship titles.
In a recent interview with Wes Goldberg of The Mercury News, Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr revealed the difference between the 2015 and 2017 NBA championship. Compared to the 2015 NBA Finals where nobody saw them bringing home the Larry O’Brien Trophy, Kerr said that the Warriors already knew that they were going to win the NBA championship title in the 2016-17 NBA season. Aside from the confidence they built in 2015 and 2016, the Warriors also managed to boost their chances of winning the 2017 NBA championship title with the acquisition of Kevin Durant in the 2016 NBA free agency.
“I think the first championship just kind of came out of nowhere,” Kerr said.
“Deep down, I think we weren’t really sure in 2015 that we could win it. We were trying to convince ourselves that we could, but we didn’t really know. And whereas in ’17 we knew we were the best team in the world, and we knew we were going to win the championship. We had the champion’s confidence for winning in ’15 and then we had Kevin Durant. So it’s like a totally different level of belief.”
Despite blowing a 3-1 lead in the 2016 NBA Finals, the Warriors have indeed entered the 2016-17 NBA season as the heavy favorite to fully dominate the Western Conference and win the NBA championship title. That wasn’t surprising as aside from retaining their championship core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala, the Warriors also acquired a player who could go head-to-head with James in Durant.
With Durant on their roster, conquering the Western Conference and winning NBA championship titles became easier for the Warriors in 2017 and 2018. However, everything started to fall apart in the 2018-19 NBA season when the Warriors suffered multiple injuries. After failing to win their third consecutive NBA championship title, Durant decided to part ways with the Warriors in the 2019 NBA free agency and started a new journey on the Brooklyn Nets.
After the departure of Durant and losing some of their key players to injury, the Warriors are set to finish the 2019-20 NBA season as a lottery team. However, the Warriors aren’t expected to remain at the bottom of the league for long. Aside from making sure that all the remaining members of their championship core will be in perfect shape, there are speculations that the Warriors will be searching for their fourth star on the trade market this summer.