NBA

NBA AM: How Do Warriors Stack Up to ’96 Bulls?

The Warriors have a legitimate shot at winning 72 games. Let’s compare them to the 1995-96 Bulls.

Lang Greene profile picture
Updated 1 year ago on

4 min read

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How Do Warriors Stack Up to 1996 Bulls?

The Golden State Warriors won 67 regular season games during the 2014-15 campaign and continued their dominance by winning the championship this past June. Through 13 games of the 2015-16 season, the Warriors remain undefeated and it’s becoming clearer by the second this team isn’t a fluke or a one-hit wonder.

The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls won an NBA record 72 regular season games. The team was led by Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman.  The Warriors’ top players aren’t on the same level as the Bulls’ unit, but to be fair Golden State’s guys have a lot more basketball left in their young legs.

While there’s still a lot of basketball left to be played, it’s not too early to start comparing the two units.

Team record through first 13 regular season games:

1995-96 Chicago Bulls: 11-2 (.846)

2015-16 Golden State Warriors: 13-0 (1.000)

The Bulls opened their record setting season on a five-game winning streak before being defeated on the road versus the Orlando Magic. The Bulls were playing without Rodman, while the Magic didn’t have the services of Shaquille O’Neal available. Chicago rattled off another five-game winning streak before running into the then Seattle SuperSonics in another road loss.

The Warriors have been pretty dominant but have had to overcome deficits and were pushed to overtime by a struggling Brooklyn Nets squad.

 

Top player through first 13 regular season games:

­Michael Jordan (1995-96 Chicago Bulls)
29.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 2.2 steals, 50% FG

Stephen Curry (2015-16 Golden State Warriors)
34.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 2.5 steals, 52% FG

Curry has been on an amazing roll and is entering his prime years. Jordan, while still a dominant force at the time, was slightly past his absolute prime, but still considered the best player in the league.

 

Margin of victory through first 13 regular season games

1995-96 Chicago Bulls: 11.3 points

2015-16 Golden State Warriors: 14.7 points

The Bulls had four victories of 15 or more points in the first 13 games of their historic 1996 campaign. The Warriors have five victories fitting this criterion, which includes a 50-point thumping of the Memphis Grizzlies (the Bulls’ highest margin was 22 points during this span).

Of course, it’s still very early to speculate just how good this Warriors team can be this season. Injuries are a key obstacle to navigate. The Bulls had to overcome Rodman’s absence for 18 games during their record setting season. How would the Warriors respond if one of their top guys missed significant time? To be fair, Warriors starting center Andrew Bogut missed time early on this season and the team didn’t miss a step.

Next up for Golden State: Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles (Lakers), Phoenix and Sacramento.

 

David Blatt Gets Endorsement from LeBron James

One of the major subplots for the Cleveland Cavaliers over the past year centered on the relationship between head coach David Blatt and four-time MVP LeBron James. Over this time period, there have been plenty of rumors suggesting a rocky relationship and friction between both parties.

James has always refuted the rumors and recently cleared the air in more detail.

“He does his job as great as any coach can do in this league,” James said according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com.

Teammate Tristan Thompson expanded on James’ comments regarding the player and coach’s relationship.

“I think whenever you work with someone over a year, over time, you understand them,” Thompson said. “You know, the first year you might have times where one might not say something to the other, just because it’s new. You might hesitate sometimes, but as you get older, you build a relationship, build chemistry. The understanding is there.”

Blatt also weighed in, showing his support and respect for James.

“I think that LeBron in general, what really, really defines him as a basketball player is his desire to win championships, above and beyond all of the overwhelming accolades and greatness that he’s displayed throughout his career,” Blatt said. “It’s pretty easy to team up with a guy like that and it’s also… it’s refreshing to come every day and to know that you’re about the same things with your best guy.

“Bron is that. He’s a leader, he’s a great player and he wants to win. You can’t ask for more than that from any player, particularly your star player.”

The Cavaliers have started the season 9-3 and sit atop of the Eastern Conference standings.

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Lang Greene is a senior NBA writer for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 10 seasons

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