The Golden State Warriors have clearly been inspired by a former NBA team. Here is how they took that squads style and made it their own.
The Golden State Warriors are constantly praised for “revolutionizing basketball”. Media and journalists everywhere credit the Dubs for creating their own unique style of play and changing the game for everyone.
Well, the truth is, Golden State wasn’t the first team to play this way. In fact, they stole their style directly from another team. This team would be the early 2000’s Pheonix Suns.
In many ways, the Pheonix Suns were the father of run and gun basketball. Led by head coach Mike D’Antoni, the Suns experimented with the idea of loading up offensively and running the floor. This team played with pace and spaced the floor to keep shooters open.
From that brief description, these two teams already seem similar. Both ran the floor at a high rate and were offensive powerhouses. In fact, the Warriors head coach, Steve Kerr, was actually the GM of the Suns at the time. However, the similarities don’t’ stop there.
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Steve Nash was the point guard of the Pheonix Suns during this time. He was a short, scrawny guard who could push the tempo and make plays for others. Nash was known for his playmaking and shooting ability. The Suns relied on Nash to control the offense and shoot the ball at a high rate.
With the Suns, Nash had four straight seasons in which he shot in the 50/40/90 range. This type of shooting was unprecedented. As a result, Nash won back-to-back MVP awards.
Now, compare Stephen Curry to Nash. Curry is also a scrawny guard who shoots the ball at an unbelievably efficient rate. Of course, Curry even won back-to-back MVP awards of his own. These two stars were responsible for leading all-time great offenses.
So, the general style of play and who was running the show are nearly identical for each team. The Suns and Warriors both aimed to run their opponents off the court and shoot early in the shot clock.
Let’s look at how the Warriors took this system and made it their own. Pheonix’s main gameplan was to focus on offense. This made the Suns one of the highest scoring teams of their era. The Dubs took this one step further and managed to become elite on both ends of the floor.
Players such as Draymond Green and Kevin Durant are the keys to how Golden State found enormous success with the formula that the Suns created. The Warriors have multiple players that can defend and become playmakers for the rest of the team. This makes them incredibly versatile.
One thing the Suns never had was a player that could set up Steve Nash. Nash was always expected to get his own shot. In contrast, the Warriors have four players that can all create shots for each other. Green, Durant, Curry and Thompson are all capable of setting each other up.
Basically, Golden State took the blueprint that the Suns laid down and injected steroids into it. The Warriors have used this style of play to win three championships. The Dubs have found great success with this gameplan, but let’s not forget to honor the team that paved the way for them.