The Golden State Warriors have been the story of the 2014-15 season’s first quarter, posting a league-best 17-2 record and recently setting the franchise record for most consecutive wins at 12 by besting one of the Eastern Conference’s top teams in the Chicago Bulls.
Stephen Curry has played like an MVP, Steve Kerr has taken to coaching like roots to soil and the complement of role players has been among the best in the league. Best of all, they’ve done all of that without one of their best players in David Lee.
It’s hard to imagine them performing much better than they have, though a few months ago Golden State general manager Bob Myers was lambasted by fans and media alike for not shipping off guard Klay Thompson in an offseason deal for Kevin Love, who many felt would help the franchise turn the corner toward contention.
The trade was not made, however. Talks never got too serious, either, for a simple reason:
“We have a cohesive roster where we haven’t had a lot of change, and it’s hard in this day and age to keep your roster together for a lot of different reasons—free agency, trades, financial reasons,” Myers told Basketball Insiders. “To keep a team together was important to us, and that has helped us early in the season while other teams are trying to work in new personnel.”
In other words, the decision to hold onto Thompson rather than make a push for Love was all about letting this talented young core grow together. This was, after all, a 50-win team last season with a lot of young stars. Keeping them together was more important to Myers and the rest of the Golden State front office than bringing in what some would consider a superior talent.
“Anybody that’s played basketball knows that the more you play with your teammates, the better you’re able to play with each other, reading the nuances, how to read each other and react,” Myers said. “Those two guys (Curry and Thompson) having been in the same backcourt for going on year four has helped them both, just getting a feel for each other, how to play off each other.”
That continuity has, as Myers explained, allowed the Warriors to jump out to the best start of the young season, but the team’s GM warns that it’s still entirely too early to crown them.
“We’ve got a tough stretch coming up here against Minnesota on the road and then against Houston,” Myers said. “It’s a tough trip on the road where we go to Dallas, New Orleans and Memphis, and those are some of our tougher games on the road. After that we’ll have a better sense, especially not knowing the full complement of our roster once David (Lee) gets back.
“You never know what the next game will bring, so you try to enjoy it. It’s a long season, but it’s nice to get off to a good start.”
There are a lot of factors that have contributed to that great start, but Myers himself believes that the carryover from last year’s successful campaign has had a lot to do with it. Even with a new coach, keeping the core of players in tact has made a huge difference for the Warriors this year.
What comes next is discovering whether they can stay this hot once the rest of the league hits its groove.
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