SANTAMARIA: Warriors Improve Further
Saxa Synergy

He’s sorry. He’s very, very sorry. He’s sorry the Warriors were healthy. He’s sorry they played who was in front of them in the playoffs last season. He’s sorry for all the awards he, and the rest of the team, won. Stephen Curry is so sorry that he’s promising to rectify the situation this season.

And he’s already started to. Last season, the defending champion Golden State Warriors and their MVP superstar Stephen Curry caught an incredible amount of flak from the rest of the league. Coaches, players and fans alike listed reason after reason that why the Warriors won was a byproduct of luck and circumstance. From Curry’s sarcasm-laden response, he clearly wasn’t having any of it, and it’s showed this season as the Warriors have broken out to a red-hot 5-0 start with last season’s MVP absolutely torching the competition. Through five games, Curry has averaged an incredible 35.8 points, 5.8 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game while shooting 57.4 percent from the field and 51.9 percent from three-point range.

What’s even more impressive is the kind of shots he’s making; it’s not like the league is leaving its best shooter wide open. Curry is dismantling defenses and making anyone guarding him look silly. Anthony Davis? Thirty-footer in his face, no problem. Any point guard teams try to throw at him? Easy three ball. Big man? He takes it to the rim, creating a SportsCenter highlight with what should be an impossible-to-make shot.

Five games into the season, Curry has already had two 40-point games, including a 53-point explosion against the New Orleans Pelicans. But Curry is just the biggest piece of a puzzle that is even more impressive as a whole.

The Warriors got off to the best four-game start in NBA history, winning their first four games by a combined 100 points, including a 119-69 stomping of the Memphis Grizzlies, who are almost a lock for the playoffs in a loaded Western Conference.

Thus, it is natural to ask what changed from last season to this season. How are the Warriors playing even better?

A couple things stick out. It’s that they have yet another year together playing under Steve Kerr’s system — Luke Walton is temporarily filling in as head coach as Kerr recovers from back surgery. It’s that Curry is another year improved, along with Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Festus Ezeli. It’s that they have something to prove to everyone who doubted them, attributed their success to luck or just flat out didn’t believe in them. It’s that they have to convince everyone they are the best team in basketball. But unlike last season, they don’t need to convince themselves.

Maybe that’s what makes them so scary; a team that knows that they’re the best starts playing like it more often. And the Warriors already won 67 games last season without that realization. It’s a case of what writer Bill Simmons calls a level three team, the highest level of team chemistry, a team hardened by their desire to defend their title and prove that they’re even better than people think.

And the Warriors have certainly begun to do that. Sure, they have more supporters than doubters, but the screams of the minority tend to drown out the murmurs of the majority. As Golden State continues to win more games behind Curry’s mindboggling shooting performances and overall play, the murmurs will grow into those screams. The best team in the NBA begins to raise the question: Are they the best team of all time? Can they beat the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ 72-10 record?

Honestly, only time will tell, and a five-game sample size is hardly enough to project an entire season’s success, but this much is certain: If Stephen Curry and the rest of the Golden State Warriors keep up the way they’re playing, the NBA is in for one hell of an apology.



Paolo Santamaria is a sophomore in the College. Saxa Synergy appears every Friday.

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