*Here is one more example of how unique the Golden State Warriors are.
In college basketball most of the good players who will eventually play in the NBA do not stay in school for all four years. In fact the better the player, the less time they spend on a college campus.
Last year’s champion Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving was so good as a NBA prospect that he didn’t even need to showcase his skill for a full season at Duke University before being selected first overall in the draft, and LeBron James who famously skipped college altogether and was said to have been good enough that he might have been the first pick in the draft after his junior year of high school if that were possible.
The Warriors on the other hand lost to the Cavaliers last year after setting a record for regular season wins while starting one guy who spent three years in college (Klay Thompson), two guys who spend four years in college (Draymond Green, and Stephen Curry). In fact Green was selected in the second round which means every NBA team had decided he wasn’t good enough to warrant their attention. And yet the Warriors won a championship two years ago and remain one of the prohibitive favorites to win it again this year.
One of the reasons I think they have defied the odds with their team is that they have fundamentally changed the way basketball is being played in the NBA. Whereas teams used to employ two very big and usually slow forwards, the Warriors force teams to sit one of those guys – usually for a less skilled smaller/faster player. It cannot be denied that the players on the Warriors are really skilled, but it helps when your opponents concede that their best players will not be good enough to play.
Of course while they have been operating with players who have more college experience over the course of their current run of excellence, this year they did add another elite player who played only one year in college.
Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War. His writing has appeared in The Journal News. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @historictrev.