By Michael S. Rampa
The Warriors improved their record to 8-0 after defeating the Detroit Pistons 109-95 on Monday night at The Oracle. That makes it 23 straight regular season W's for the Warriors in Oakland dating back to last year. No other team in Golden State history has started a season this hot since they moved to the Bay Area in 1962. Michael Jordan's record season of 72-10 is still in play. Hell, 82-0 should still be considered a possibility so long as Steph Curry is in the lineup every night. The Warriors are stupid good.
Through the first eight games, this might be the most unselfish Warriors team I've ever watched. They lead the league in scoring, averaging just an eyelash under 115 points per game and their assists per game is sitting north of 26 per. They move the ball so beautifully and players routinely pass up a good look at the rim to get a teammate a better shot. It's truly the way basketball was meant to be played.
The Dubs are always laughing, slapping hands and the bench goes crazy when Curry hits a big three or Iguodala slams down a dunk with authority. These Warriors set picks and screens for each other. They are willing to step in the lane and take a hit from a 6’10" power forward barreling down on them to force a charge. Everywhere you look, up and down the lineup, every player seems to be fully invested. Winning is their bottom line and it’s all they seem to care about.
I realize team chemistry alone will not win you championships, not to mention back-to-back titles. You have to have the talent to go with it. Steph Curry, the reigning MVP and the team's clear alpha dog, is the fourth highest paid player on the team this year. The fourth! He could have walked into Joe Lacob’s office before training camp and demand he rip up his current contract.
Of course, he didn’t do that. Not Steph's style. He is a team first guy and realizes he needs good players around him to add to his championship résumé. Steph knows he will get his monster contract soon enough and we all are aware that he could score 50 points almost every night if he wanted to. But is that what’s best for the team? Not according to Curry. An assist is just as important to him and he loves getting his teammates the ball with a nifty pass to excite the Roaracle crowd.
Surely, the road through the Western Conference will be tougher than ever this year. The Clippers are better than last year, as is San Antonio, and Houston will be right there again down the stretch. Oklahoma City has Kevin Durant back, so that instantly makes them a force again as well in the West.
As it stands, the Warriors are clearly the best team in the NBA. They are firing on all cylinders through these first eight games and doing it without their head coach, Steve Kerr. Fortunately, Luke Walton has done a nice job running the team in his absence. Similar to when a CEO goes on a safari and someone under him or her is left in charge of the company. They simply need to read the “how to manual,” follow the CEO’s orders and don’t change anything while they are away. Walton has taken over the reigns beautifully, and there is no reason to believe he can't keep it up. Clearly, the players respond well to his style.
If the next 74 games are as entertaining as the first eight, then Dubs fans are in for a wild ride. Somehow, Steve Kerr's back injury has done nothing more than speed this team up, rather than slow them down. Tomorrow they'll walk into Memphis 8-0. The smart money says they'll fly out unblemished. Perhaps the haters should have held their tongue. The Dubs are rolling.