How the Golden State Warriors built the most dominant team in the NBA
The Golden State Warriors are the best team in the NBA with a 37-4 record.
The reigning champs rattled off an NBA record 24 straight wins to start the season, and show no signs of slowing down.
That the Warriors have managed to get even better than last year has wowed the NBA world. While there's no guarantee they'll make a second-straight Finals appearance, they have to be considered the heavy favorites, particularly because no team boasts such a deadly combination of players.
The Warriors are the most complete team in the NBA, with a roster that boasts a mix of offensive weapons, defensive stoppers, bench scorers, and role players. Here's how they built it.
DRAFTED: Stephen Curry
It all starts with Stephen Curry, of course. The Warriors made the brilliant decision to draft Stephen Curry at No. 7 in the 2009 draft, and it's paid off. Curry is the reigning MVP and likely cruising toward another MVP this season, averaging 29 points, five rebounds, six assists, and a wild 50% shooting, 44% from three-point range.
DRAFTED: Klay Thompson
Taken with the 11th pick in the 2011 draft, Thompson has become Curry's fearsome back-court partner. Aptly making up the second part of the "Splash Brothers" moniker, Thompson is averaging 20 points per game for the second straight year while shooting 43.5% from downtown and playing stellar defense.
DRAFTED: Draymond Green
Green is the Warriors' linchpin. At 6-foot-6, he's the player every team wants and can't find. He can defend every position on the court, making the Warriors' a swarming, versatile defensive squad, and he's valuable to the offense as a shooter and playmaker. After earning an $82 million contract in the offseason, he's averaging 15 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists per game this year.
DRAFTED: Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes has developed into one of the quieter, yet nonetheless impactful players on the Warriors' roster. He's not as flashy as the rest of the team, but he adds a dose of athleticism, three-point shooting, and defense. He may get paid big money this offseason.
DRAFTED: Festus Ezeli
Ezeli has become a breakout player for the Warriors this season, making occasional starts at center for Andrew Bogut. His seven points and six rebounds per game won't blow anyone away, but he's developed into a capable finisher and an athletic rim protector.
TRADED FOR: Andrew Bogut
In 2012, the Warriors got their anchor for their stingy defense, Andrew Bogut, by trading with the Milwaukee Bucks. While injury-prone, Bogut is not only a defensive anchor, he's an expert passer that fits beautifully with the roster and brings a toughness to the team.
SIGNED: Andre Iguodala
In the 2013 offseason, the Warriors got their best perimeter defender by pulling off a $48 million sign-and-trade for Andre Iguodala. Iguodala has accepted a sixth-man role for the Warriors and acts as a valuable defender, playmaker, and scorer. He won Finals MVP for his hot shooting and incredible defense on LeBron James.
SIGNED: Shaun Livingston
Livingston has been something of a reclamation project for the Warriors, and it's paid off. As a 6-foot-7 backup point guard, Livingston's size gives opposing guards trouble on both ends of the floor.
SIGNED: Brandon Rush
Nobody figured Rush would have a big impact this season, but when Harrison Barnes went down with an ankle injury, Rush filled in seamlessly. He too brings a good dose of defense and shooting.
SIGNED: Leandro Barbosa
Barbosa is not always a prominent part of the Warriors' rotation, but the 33-year-old guard is a burst of energy off the bench, capable of scoring points in bunches.
SIGNED: Luke Walton
With Steve Kerr out since training camp to recover from back surgery, the 35-year-old, first-time head coach has filled in more than admirably. Whenever Kerr returns to the bench, Walton's contributions as a fill-in will not be forgotten.