The Golden State Warriors are on their 6th trip to the NBA Finals in 8 years. Take a moment to let that sink in and appreciate how incredible of an achievement this is.
Golden State is the first franchise to win 6 conference finals in 8 years since the Michael Jordan-Scotty Pippen Chicago Bulls era that took place in 1991-1998. The Warriors also achieved this by dominating the Western Conference, going 12-4 so far in the Playoffs.
The Warriors dynasty is alive, after all.
The Warriors’ sixth conference finals victory isn’t just another milestone but also a sense of validation that their golden dynasty never died, after all.
Let’s just say the two-year hiatus the Dubs took in between their 2019 and 2020 conference titles was a gap year — similar to the one ‘90s Bulls went through decades ago. If you think about it, both the Warriors and Bulls dynasties had a similar path.
Like the Warriors, the Bulls dominated the NBA from 1990-to 1993, winning three championships during this period. Then, Jordan decided to quit basketball for a year and a half, thus eventually causing Chicago’s demise. After two seasons of no championships, Jordan led the Bulls back on top to win three straight titles from 1996 to 1998.
The Warriors’ title runs are more complicated (and arguably, less challenging since they acquired Kevin Durant), but after winning three titles in four years, they fell off the ladder because of injuries. But thanks to their homegrown core composed of Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson, who this time are alongside young and hungry core pieces, they’re back on top, looking to regain their crown — hoping to follow the same path the Bulls accomplished from 1996 to 1998.
The most significant difference for the Warriors this time is the emergence of two-way forward Andrew Wiggins (who has finally found his role) and Jordan Poole, who may not be Durant, but has been an exceptional boost for his team.
Consider this - Curry and Green are 40-12 in games they played together this season (including the Playoffs) which just proves that they’re still a dominant force to reckon with, similar to how Jordan and Pippen were.
Curry is now 34-year-old, just a year older than Jordan (33) was in 1996. Jordan’s two most prominent teammates, Pippen and Dennis Rodman were also in their early 30s, similar to what Green and Thompson are now.
The Bulls’ second three-peat run also featured new faces in Toni Kukoc and Steve Kerr, like how the Dubs now have Wiggins and Poole.
Both teams may not have been built the same way, but there’s a common path to their championship success.
A bridge between the past and future
Golden State finds itself in this position because of its success in bridging the past and future. They found a way to remain competitive and retool their roster even after Durant’s departure by striking luck in the NBA draft, drafting well, developing their undrafted players, and building a talented roster around their core — who remained loyal to the team despite two years of injuries and unfortunate luck.
Now, here are the Warriors once again, back in familiar territory as the kings of the Western Conference. The biggest question for the organization is if they can reclaim the throne, similar to what the Bulls did in the late ‘90s. This is the second era of the Warriors dynasty, their story is just beginning.