The Golden State Warriors are tied with the Phoenix Suns for the best record in the NBA, roughly 25 percent into the season. Thanks to an MVP-like season so far by Stephen Curry, the Warriors have been able to mitigate the absences of James Wiseman and Klay Thompson to become one of the most dominant teams in the league right now. Phoenix had won 18 straight before the Warriors snapped that streak the other night at the Chase Center, further cementing the opinion that Golden State is this season's team to beat. (and that the Suns are the only ones that seem like they can keep up)
However, Curry has finally looked human in the Warriors' recent stretch of games. Usually a very efficient shooter, Curry has struggled from the field as teams have focused on slowing the former MVP down, and when Steph is off, Golden State isn't winning basketball games. When asked about the recent but small sample size of his team's struggles, Head Coach Steve Kerr provided great context to how he views the situation.
“If you can't maintain your culture during the down times, then you don't really have a culture. It's just dependent on winning. The culture has to survive losing stretches.”
Steve Kerr, via Connor Letourneau
Kerr isn’t just saying this. He truly believes his team is in an excellent position to contend for a championship this year. Through his experience as both player and coach, Kerr knows that the road to a title is not a sprint but a marathon. He also understands that teams will get hot, and less talented teams can beat you on any given night. That’s just the way things go in such a stacked league as the NBA.
What matters is how you approach each game and build an identity that will get you through a grueling playoff run en route to a championship by a certain point in the season. The Warriors have that and more, and with Klay coming back soon, this team will be more connected and more talented since Kevin Durant left Golden State for Brooklyn nearly three years ago.
The Warriors may lose many games when Steph Curry is off, but the franchise has done the necessary work to ensure that they are not overly reliant on a few stars. Golden State's unpredictability on offense and their cohesion on defense will prove to be the defining factors of their title run, should they be so fortunate to win it all. The Nets and Lakers may each have a trio of stars, but they (yet) do not have a culture like Dub Nation.