Thursday 24 August 2017 / 04:47 PM

DO THE WARRIORS DESERVE THE RECORD?

“Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now,” says Jim Gordon at the end ofThe Dark Knight.

That line may just be more relevant than ever right now in the NBA.

The Golden State Warriors have just broken the record for most wins in a single season – notching their 73rd with a 125-104 victory over Memphis in their final regular-season game – to surpass the ’95-’96 Chicago Bulls. It’s rare that big records like these are broken, so obviously the world of basketball is paying attention.

 

Of course, the Warriors had already been turning heads beforehand – 2015 NBA Championship aside, Steph Curry’s three-point buckets have been unreal all year. The guy is so good, in fact, that the designers of the NBA 2K16 can’t even come up with a way to code video game Steph.

“It’s going to take some fundamental changes to our game code,” said Visual Concepts gameplay director Mike Wang in an interview with SFGate.

But a great basketball team is so much more than one player sinking incredible shots that nobody else in the game is even taking right now. Look at the  single-season victory record-holders: the ’95-’96 Bulls had Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, two of the toughest defenders ever, along with Michael Jordan, who is, well, Michael Jordan. Three legends right there on one team.

Of course, you can’t mention the Bulls’ record without mentioning Steve Kerr, who shot .515 from behind the arc – it’s almosttoofitting that he’s the one behind the Curry-led Warriors’ success. To see a former NBA player, known for his shooting, turn into a coach for a team known for its shooting is cinema-worthy. It’s like Rocky coming back to train Apollo’s son.

But aside from Kerr and Curry, are the Warriors up to the same caliber? This is a big world record – it’s not a random stat that will make for a fun trivia question, but a big-time historic event that even non-fans will remember for a while – and you want the team that takes that record to be worth the title. That being said, the Warriors are probablythequintessential love-em-or-hate-em team in the league this year.

Obviously, one of the names most synonymous with the word ‘divisive’ in the NBA right now is Draymond Green. He Snapchats himself driving too fast. He revels in self-laudatory remarks directed to the media, rivals and former basketball greats (Charles Barkley, anyone?). There’s also the whole profanity-infused rant he gave his own teammates during halftime of the Thunder game.

But is that really a reason for the Warriors to have so many critics? Take Green’s halftime rant…did it not yield results? Then there’s Andre Iguodala’s firm stance that the only way to stop his team is to shoot and kill them. Sure, maybe not the most politically-correct thing to ever say. But did The Beatles stop being the best band of all time after telling the public they were more popular than Jesus?

To compare this team to when LeBron James joined the Miami Heat, the amount of negative feedback is surprisingly less. LeBron could have so much as looked at a camera with a scowl and he would immediately have become the object of bitter media scorn. A good metric to judge if the Warriors have gone too far would be the moment you see Steph Curry jerseys being burned in the streets.

The fact is, people love to hate winners. The Warriors aren’t a divisive team because they don’t deserve this record – they’re a divisive team because they’re good. Yes, the road to get to this point has been far from perfect; but the thing about legends is that they’re only considered so in retrospect.

Are the Warriors the heroes we deserve? The truth is, only time will tell. But until then, they have 73 wins – and they have a roster that is far from undeserving.

 

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About the author

Alex Moskov

Alex has come on board with CBS as our basketball and gridiron expert, providing opinions and analysis from the bright lights of the NBA and NFL.

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