The Golden State Warriors three-year run to the NBA finals is among the greatest in NBA History. It has given rise to criticism of their greatness and comparisons to the other elite teams in NBA history.
Social media has given everyone the opportunity express their opinions and to a much wider audience. It has also given rise to a far greater amount of hatred, misinformation and misguided subjectivity.
A level of hatred has risen to the point that we cannot and/or refuse to see other points of view. Sports is no different. Fans have locked in so much on disliking teams or players that they will throw in any kind of argument, often illogical to make their point.
The view of the Warriors has led to a ton of revisionist history. Some of the opinions from Chicago sports fans regarding the Warriors is naive at best and unintelligent at worst.
The level to which Bulls fans seem to be offended by the comparisons of the Warriors to the 90's Bulls has a plethora of opinions and analogies which do not make sense. One of the main criticisms focuses on Golden State adding Kevin Durant to get a title.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr responded to all the criticisms with an apt response about the level the game is being played at now.
— Jimmy Durkin (@Jimmy_Durkin) June 9, 2017
The Bulls had won three titles before Michael Jordan's first retirement shortly before they were to begin defending their third straight championship in October of 1993. Jordan missed the entire 1993-94 season.
The Bulls lost in a seven-game Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Knicks in 1994. If not for some epic collapses and a controversial foul call against Scottie Pippen the Bulls could have advanced to their sixth consecutive Eastern Conference Finals.
Jordan returned in March of the 1994-95 season. The Bulls finished that year 47-35 and with the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls ousted the Charlotte Hornets three games to one in the first round. They were eliminated by Orlando in six games in the next round.
Needing more of an interior presence, the Bulls traded center Will Perdue to San Antonio in the off-season for Dennis Rodman. Rodman gave the Bulls three Hall of Famer players to begin a second run of three straight titles.
The Bulls were one of many teams that added at least an All-Star to an already star-studded lineup. Teams acquiring great players goes back to the Celtics trading for Bill Russell in 1956.
Super teams started in 2010? Hmmm ...
80s: Magic, Kareem, Worthy --- Bird, McHale, DJ, Chief --- Dr. J and Moses
90s: MJ, PIP, Worm / https://t.co/FgyPlCoM8e
— Lang Greene (@LangGreene) June 8, 2017
On a team that already included several Hall of Famers, the Celtics unloaded All-Stars Cliff Hagan and Ed Macauley to the St. Louis Hawks for the rights to Russell. That trade led to the Celtics winning 11 of the next 13 titles.
Other franchises that have made blockbuster moves to turn a good team into a great one include the Lakers, the Heat, the 76ers and the Pistons.
The Lakers and Celtics did it several times. Both Magic Johnson and James Worthy were added to a Lakers franchise that already included the NBA's all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. About 10 years prior to those acquisitions, the Lakers added Wilt Chamberlain to Elgin Baylor and Jerry West.
The Celtics did it with Russell, then when they acquired Robert Parish and Kevin McHale and again when they added Kevin Garnett to Ray Allen to Paul Pierce to form "the big three".
Some of the criticisms of this team and era fail to see the skill level at which this team plays at. It's been said that the players now are not as tough, that the rules have benefitted the offense and its a boring brand of basketball. These are the same Bulls fans that decried the Pistons roughness with the Bulls in four playoff series from 1988-91.
Bulls fans have seemed to have forgotten some of the plays that Rodman, Bill Laimbeer, Rick Mahorn and other Pistons used on the Bulls during four straight seasons of playoff matchups.
One of the other arguments against Golden State and this era, in general, is that there is a lack of defense. This is an example of revisionist history. The great Lakers teams of the 1980s that won five titles in nine years. Their best title season defensively was in 1988 when they allowed 107 points per game.
The most Golden State has allowed in their three-year dominance of the Western Conference is 104.3 this season. The argument that the Warriors are not good defensively is based far more on opinion and observation than fact.
Golden State led the league defensively in three categories in 2016-17. They were first in shooting percentage defense, three-point shooting percentage defense, and turnovers forced.
The Warriors' defensive rating ranking went from 7th among all teams to the best overall; the most dramatic change, statistically, from last year's playoffs.
The 1996 Bulls are lauded for how good they were defensively. Although they finished in the top ten in nearly every category, the only defensive stat they led the league in on defense were assists against.
The game was far different then in terms of skill level. Players' skills tended to be specific to their position. The Bulls were revolutionary in having players that can guard multiple positions. The second three-peat started four players that could guard multiple positions.
If the Bulls wanted to go smaller, they could substitute Toni Kukoc for Luc Longley and play five players that were able to play more than their defined spot on the floor.
Golden State has taken it to another level. Kukoc was multi-talented, but average defensively. He averaged 4.3 rebounds (2.7 defensive rebounds), 0.9 steals and 0.4 blocks. Durant's defense improved immensely with the Warriors this season.
Durant averaged career highs this season with 8,3 rebounds, 7.6 defensive rebounds, 1.6 blocks and a career low 2.2 turnovers. He has given the Warriors more than just another superstar offensively.
The biggest difference from what I’ve seen out of Durant since he arrived in Golden State has been his defense, though, which is cultural.
— Anthony F. Irwin (@AnthonyIrwinLA) June 7, 2017
Durant's presence on the defensive end has helped them alleviate the losses of Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes. They were key role players for Golden State the last two seasons. Durant's productivity on the board and altering opponents shots has nearly matched Bogut who was more of a defensive and rebounding specialist.
With at least one more game remaining in what was a highly anticipated NBA Finals, fans can continue to bash the Warriors as being less than teams in other eras or they can accept and enjoy their greatness. Many times fans refuse to see greatness while it's happening. It often takes time to reflect on history's past to truly appreciate the greatness we are seeing.
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