The 2016-17 Golden State Warriors were special. In fact, they may have been the greatest team in NBA history.
Following a historically bad loss in the 2016 NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors responded by putting together the greatest team in league history. Let’s reflect on the 2016-17 season.
The NBA world was set ablaze on July 4 of 2016 when Kevin Durant announced he would be leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Warriors. Only a few months ago, Durant had been eliminated in embarrassing fashion by the Dubs. Now, he would be joining the team that had just won 73 games in the regular season and fell four points short of back-to-back championships.
With Durant, the Warriors boasted a lineup of four All-Stars and two MVP caliber players. This was the first time that the league had ever seen a team of this much talent stacked in their prime together like this.
To no surprise, the Dubs rampaged through the Western Conference. They went 67-15 in the regular season, finishing with 67 or more wins for the third consecutive season. Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green each reached the All-Star Game while Green captured the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
In the playoffs, their dominance continued. The Warriors swept through the first three rounds, winning by an average margin of 16.3 points. However, the NBA Finals would be a much tougher challenge. The Cleveland Cavaliers had lost only one game en route to the NBA Finals and had an explosive duo of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving leading the charge.
These two titans were at the height of their powers and were ready to clash. Steve Kerr recently stated that the 2017 NBA Finals ‘was the highest level of basketball’ he’s ever seen. This is huge coming from a man who played alongside Michael Jordan.
The Warriors took care of business at home and jumped out to a 2-0 lead but Game 3 proved to be a brawl. The Cavs battled all the way until the end but a clutch 3-pointer from KD gave the Warriors a late lead and secured the victory.
In Game 4, the Cavaliers erupted for an NBA Finals record 86 first-half points. Despite their best efforts, this was too much for the Dubs to overcome.
Back at home for Game 5, the Warriors were determined to put this series away and reclaim the throne. Durant and Curry combined for 73 points, 15 assists and 12 rebounds to put the Cavaliers away. KD was crowned Finals MVP for his averages of 35.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.0 steals per game. He put the Warriors over the top and made them virtually unstoppable.
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Looking back, it’s clear this is the best team the Dubs ever assembled and there is a real argument to be made that this is the greatest squad of all-time.