70 Reasons To Love The Warriors
1. THE WARRIORS’ AVERAGE OF 13.1 MADE 3s PER GAME IS THE HIGHEST IN NBA HISTORY.
2. THE STREAKS.
From April 9 to Dec. 12 of last year, the Dubs won 28 straight, the longest streak in 44 years. And their 54-game home winning streak, which was snapped by the Celtics on April 1, is the longest in NBA history.
3. THE MVP CHANNELS HIS INNER SUN TZU.
“Basketball isn’t just a sport. It is an art, one that must be mastered to succeed.” — Steph Curry
4. DESPITE HIS ADDICTION, CURRY FIGHTS ON.
Let’s just come right out and say it: The best player in the world suffers from a previously unreported and crippling addiction. To popcorn. The ball boys in opposing arenas know to fill his locker with a stash of it. In New Orleans back in October, he received a massive satchel of the stuff before going out and scoring 53 points. Inspiration? Probably not, as a man who once lost minutes to Acie Law needs no extra motivation. After the 53-point explosion, Curry was informed that coach Keith Smart, who’d benched Curry for Law in the dark days of 2011, had offered congratulations. “Tell him I could feel Acie Law breathing down my neck,” Steph quipped.
5. CURRY IS LAPPING THE LEGENDS.
Steph is on pace to make 40 more 3s over this season and last (683) than Larry Bird did in his 13-year career (649). Curry has already hit more in that span than MJ did (581) in his 15 years.
6-8. SARCASM, BURGERS AND BREAKING BAD. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?!
Gruff and sardonic, Andrew Bogut isn’t a fan of political correctness and traffics in an especially off-color brand of humor. Once, Festus Ezeli, who’s Nigerian and Christian, couldn’t find his shoes. “Oh s—, bro,” Bogut said. “Boko Haram took all your s—!” Ezeli laughed at the wrongness of it all.
Once, to bring out the fire in Draymond Green, Leandro Barbosa lied about having eaten a burger from a local San Francisco spot that Green had recommended. Barbosa insisted that a burger joint closer to his house was far better. This enraged Green, who could see Barbosa was lying. “Now you back,” Barbosa told him. “That’s the Draymond I want to see! That’s the guy I want to see!”
Nicknamed the Black Falcon, Harrison Barnes is something of a millennial cliche. He professes a love of alt comedy and Game of Thrones and once wrote reviews of Breaking Bad.
9. IGGY IS A FUNNY DUDE.
Andre Iguodala thinks deeply about race, but he also revels in its awkward, comedic value. “It’s fun for me,” he says. Case in point: Last season in Dallas, Shaun Livingston was playing defense on Dirk Nowitzki when his hand connected with Nowitzki’s crotch; the crowd hurled boos in Livingston’s direction until the final buzzer. After the game, a media scrum had Livingston cornered as he frantically threw up his hands, trying to explain himself. Iguodala walked by and shouted into the scrum, “Look how they got the black man over there! You see? You see?!”
10. STEPH LEADS THE LEAGUE IN THE PASS BEFORE THE PASS.
One more stat Curry dominates: He tops the NBA in “hockey assists” per game (2.5), defined as passes that lead to an assist. Last season he ranked a more mortal second, at 1.8.
11. REALLY, NOW, STEPH’S STATS ARE JUST PATENTLY ABSURD.
Curry’s PER of 31.3 would be the best for a guard since Michael Jordan’s 1990-1991 season. Oh, just a quarter-century ago. And MJ in the Bulls’ 72-win season? He posted a 29.4 PER, a sizable gap from Curry’s current rate.
12. THE EVERYMAN HAS HURDLED THE DUNKMAN.
With $160 million in projected sales, Curry should surpass LeBron as the top seller of signature shoes this year, according to Morgan Stanley. In fact, he’s on pace to sell more than Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Kobe Bryant combined.
13. IN TIMES OF EPIC DISAPPOINTMENT, THEY’RE STILL COOLER THAN YOU.
“I bet you thought we were going to be sad, huh?” — Draymond Green, after the Warriors’ Dec. 12 loss to Milwaukee that snapped the team’s 28-game regular-season winning streak.
14. CURRY HAS NAILED MORE 3s THAN ALL OF THE BUCKS COMBINED IN 2016. OR BETTER YET, SINCE THANKSGIVING.
15. THEY HAVE THE GREATEST NICKNAMES.
Luke Walton’s, for example, is “Little Wheats.” When asked why, Walton simply chuckles and says, “I don’t know.”
16. IF SUCH A THING AS “CLUTCH” ACTUALLY EXISTS, THEN STEPH CURRY IS THAT.
Curry is scoring 50.4 points per 48 minutes in fourth quarters this season, the highest rate since the league started tracking that stat in 1996. Behind him? Kobe Bryant in ’05-06 at 48.9, Kyrie Irving in ’12-13 at 46.1 and LeBron James in ’09-10 at 45.7.
17. THEY KNOW WHAT’S TRULY IMPORTANT IN LIFE.
Starters Barnes and Bogut have a pregame tradition: a long, relaxing trip to the john. The ritual voyage frequently makes the duo late to — or absent from — the pregame intros and national anthem. Go ahead, look for them! They’re not there!
18. YOU WON’T BELIEVE HOW NIKE LOST STEPH.
Ever wonder how the most electric player in a generation slipped through the grasp of the most powerful sports apparel company in the world, and how Under Armour managed to pull off the marketing heist of the century? It included the worst endorsement pitch ever — Steph was called “Steph-ON” and Kevin Durant’s name was on the PowerPoint presentation — an undrafted inside man, a mountain of shoes and one highly influential toddler.
19. EVEN STEPH’S PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE GAME IS STRONG.
“I apologize for us being healthy, I apologize for us playing who was in front of us. I apologize for all the accolades we received as a team and individually. I’m very, truly sorry, and we’ll rectify that situation this year.” — Steph Curry
20. THIS YEAR’S STEPH? SOOO WAY BETTER THAN MVP STEPH.
Curry is not only the MVP; he also might be the MIP: Curry has improved his player efficiency rating and scoring average by more than any reigning MVP in NBA history. In 1984-85, Larry Bird increased his scoring average by 4.5 points and his PER by 2.3 points, the highest increases at the time for a reigning MVP. Curry’s improvements: 6.1 and 3.3, respectively.
21-23. THE DUBS’ PLAYING STYLE IS LESS LINEUP OF DEATH, MORE PINEAPPLE CAKE.
Shaun Livingston, nicknamed Dot, short for Sdot, exudes wisdom and calm. When asked to provide the best analogy for his playing style, Livingston — a point guard who plays like a big man — calls it a “pineapple upside-down cake” because, he says, “It’s inverted.”
Nicknamed Swagzeli for his, uh, active social life, Festus Ezeli brims with confidence and bold fashion sense. Ezeli, who seems to have a Gronk-level affection for shirtlessness, once ended a pregame interview by saying, “Should I poop with my shirt on or off?” After a moment or two in which he received no answer, he responded, “Shirt off. Always shirt off.”
Ian Clark’s nickname is his real first name, just mispronounced as Yan. Why? Because Pacers center Ian Mahinmi’s first name is pronounced that way. Why did the Warriors decide to adopt that for Clark? Honestly, nobody on the team actually remembers.
24. THE WARRIORS DISCOVERED A CHEAT CODE TO BASKETBALL IN THE 2015 NBA FINALS.
Tied 1-1 in the 2015 NBA Finals, Steph Curry and the Warriors not only solved the riddle of the Cavaliers’ swarming defense, they ended one of the most enduring myths in basketball: that a team with no conventional big man, and one that uses the jump shot as its most lethal weapon, can’t win an NBA title.
25. THEY AWESOMELY OWNED DOC RIVERS’ BS.
In October, Clippers coach Doc Rivers told Zach Lowe: “You need luck in the West. Look at Golden State. They didn’t have to play us or the Spurs.” The Dubs responded with shade so vicious it could be called performance art.
“If they’re saying that, they aren’t the champs. It’s simple. Gregg Popovich didn’t say that. That’s one organization I really respect. And you haven’t heard anybody in their camp say that.” — Draymond Green
“I’ve actually got my [championship] ring fitted for my middle finger, so they can kiss that one.” — Andrew Bogut
“I wanted to play the Clippers last year, but they couldn’t handle their business.” — Klay Thompson
26. THEY DEFEND THE HOMELAND.
The Warriors win 89 percent of all games, so they’re pretty darn good everywhere. But the secret of their home-court success is their home-court defense, which allows a ridiculous 5.3 fewer points at Oracle than away.
27. STEPH IS EVEN THE BEST AT PRACTICE.
Neurologists say that Steph’s historic shooting owes itself to his … intensive ballhandling practice? That’s right. By training his mind to process faster, Curry frees up brain space for locating the rim. Dan Chao, CEO of neuroscience firm Halo, says, “When some things become so innate, it opens up your cognitive ability to appreciate different aspects of the game.”
28. EVEN THE PRESIDENT JUST WANTS TO HANG WITH RILEY.
“I was hoping that Riley Curry would be here today to share the podium with me.” — President Barack Obama, addressing the Warriors during their February visit to the White House.
29. THE WARRIORS’ LINEUP OF DEATH LEADS ALL NBA LINEUPS IN ASSISTS PER 48 MINUTES AT A SICK 34.
30. LUKE WALTON IS LITERALLY THE BEST COACH EVER.
“Good job. Thanks for giving me another one.” — Steve Kerr, to interim coach Walton after a January win. The NBA credited Kerr with Walton’s 39-4 record.
31. THEY PLAY A DIFFERENT BRAND OF BALL ON THE PLANE.
According to SI, on a charter flight earlier in the year, rookie Kevon Looney fell asleep with his mouth open. Green, seizing the opportunity, swatted a fly into it. Looney doubts the veracity of this tale.
32. KLAY IS A BORE, BUT HE LOVES (SOME) EGGS.
Thompson is legendary among his Warriors teammates for his monofocus, caring passionately — perhaps obsessively — about only basketball, Xbox and his dog, Rocco. Food sometimes cracks that list. He is particularly fond of a specific omelet at the team hotel in Memphis. As Thompson exited FedExForum after a practice earlier this season, a Warriors assistant cracked, “Every step of the way, Klay is thinking, omelet, omelet, omelet.”
33. DELL STILL HOLDS SOMETHING OVER HIS SON.
The Dubs’ 3-point percentage this year is 41.8 percent, which is the highest team rate since the 1996-97 Hornets (led by Steph Curry’s father, Dell, who made 42.6 percent of his 3s that year). Darn it, Dad — you never let me win!
34. BEST OUTSIDE SHOOTER? BEST INSIDER SHOOTER!
The 6-foot-3 Curry isn’t just an elite shooter from distance. At 68.7 percent, he astonishingly leads the league in FG percentage on layups (minimum 150 attempts).
36. EVEN THE WARRIORS THINK STEPH IS UNFAIR.
When players are fined for violating team policy, the money goes into a pot and a half-court shooting contest determines the victor. As for Mo Speights? He thinks Steph should be banned.
37. THEY WHISPER SWEET NOTHINGS.
Player development coach Bruce Fraser is the guy who works with Steph Curry on his shooting routine. After an article came out in December that called Fraser the “Curry whisperer,” Curry and other members of the Warriors whispered gibberish at Fraser for weeks.
38. STEPH IS ON A 103-HR PACE (LIKE, METAPHORICALLY).
Curry is on pace to hit 403 3s, a 41 percent increase from the record he set last season (286). That’s equivalent to hitting 103 home runs in baseball (41 percent more than Barry Bonds’ record 73 dingers) or a quarterback throwing 78 touchdowns.
39. A 6-3 POINT GUARD IS MORE POPULAR THAN LEBRON.
Curry has a higher average interest number on Google Trends than LeBron James this year, after trailing him the past two years. (James in 2014: 13; 2015: 16; 2016: 35.)
40. WE’RE NEVER REALLY SURE WHAT MO SPEIGHTS IS SAYING …
“[Curry] had them red, killer eyes, the eyes of a killer.” — Speights on a 40-point performance from Curry, which included eight 3s, in a win at Charlotte.
41. STEVE KERR HAS SUFFERED MORE THAN ANYONE KNOWS.
When Warriors coach Steve Kerr announced last October that he’d be taking a leave of absence, he said it was to recover from back surgery and hoped to be back by Oct. 27, the Warriors’ first game. He returned four months later, after an incredibly scary prognosis and suffering debilitating pain, which remains far more serious and career-threatening than anyone knew.
42. NO ONE EVER HAD THE HUEVOS TO DO THIS BEFORE.
In the year’s first preseason game, Curry launched a 3 and, with the ball still in the air, turned to high-five Andre Iguodala. Swish. On Jan. 9, he did it again — this time turning to talk smack to the Kings’ bench as the shot flew. Swish. On March 12 against the Suns, in the midst of turning a nine-point deficit into a seven-point win, he did this again. Swish. Seriously?!