Game Changer – By Steve Carfino
The Golden State Warriors not only won the NBA title last season, they also changed the way the game is being played. The Warriors led the NBA in points per game and assists, others have played small ball, but unlike Golden State other run and gun teams failed in the post season.
Basketball purist can relax because, first of all, small ball wasn’t invented by the Warriors. Second, basketball follows trends that only last until another team comes along and beats them with different style of play.
When Magic Johnson bust into the scene at Michigan State as the 6’9″point guard of the NCAA champion Spartans. Everybody was after the next big point guard, many tried but no plus-sized floor leader was ever in Magic’s class.
Remember when the Houston Rockets won the NBA title with the Twin Towers, Ralph Sampson and Hakeem Olajuwon. A few years later their Texas counterpart raised the trophy in San Antonio, when David Robinson was joined by a young Tim Duncan. After those teams won championships, twin bigs have been as rare as dinosaurs.
The 90s was the decade dominated by Michael Jordan and the Bulls. Being dubbed the next Jordan was a basketball curse that hit Grant Hill, early in his career, and Harold Miners’ entire career. After nobody was able to find the next Jordan, teams were influenced by European players and team style of play. Since Manu Ginobili came into the NBA ever player in the world now has a Euro step.
The Golden State Warriors are special, that type of chemistry doesn’t come around often in sport, so enjoy it. But there is a coach out there somewhere trying to construct a style of play that best suits the personnel on his team, they will win and the cycle will continue.