The Golden State Warriors have carved a niche for themselves with respect to bending the rules and raising the performance bar of the sport which historically was meant only for those with “size, strength, athletic body and hard work,” as reported on the blog of Vest board website.
The Warriors are one of the only three existing charter members of the National Basketball Association (NBA), apart from the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks, as mentioned on their official website. They won, not only the championship title in the 1946-47 inaugural season, but also three out of six NBA championships held in the last 70 years. Besides, they have even produced 18 Hall of Famers, six of whom were named the NBA’s 50 greatest players in 1996.
Apart from these accomplishments, the team, during an existence spanning almost seven decades, have brought in a “never before seen” level of inventiveness to the game of basketball that has raised the performance bar of the sport. The Wall Street Journal offers a first glimpse of this innovation which highlights the team’s semi-circular white-colored strip of paint found 24-feet-away from the basket. The specific innovation or challenge, which the NBA introduced in 1979, was the “valuable 3-pointer-shots deployed for enhancing the scoring efficiency,” according to the “New York Times.” It was confusing to the most teams, who shot 2-pointer-shots, 97 percent of the time. However, hard-work and practice increased the proportion of 3-pointer-shots, seven-fold, in the three decades that followed its introduction, touching an average of 22 percent and becoming stagnated, thereafter.
The Golden State Warriors changed all this in 2008-09 by increasing the proportion of their team average for 3-pointer-shots to “37.3 percent, which was almost one per cent higher than the NBA 3-pointer-average of 36.6 percent,” as reported by the website, PointAfter.com. Interestingly, the onus for these new improved game statistics rested mostly on the shoulders of Stephen Curry, the team’s star player who joined the league in 2009. Curry, the son of a former NBA player, Dell, was already an ace 3-point-shooter in Davidson College. His induction into the Warriors’ family only proved his mettle as a basketball player. According to the Wall Street Journal and the website Basketball Reference.com, Curry earned a shooting average of 43.7 percent in his first season, 2009-10. It was higher than the NBA average for all shots. He also demonstrated the ability to put down accurate shots regardless of the distance, a skill that most of the average NBA players lacked.
The outcome was an entirely new. It was an invincible basketball style that Joe Lacob, owner of the team “exploited by executing a new team-building architecture, exclusively revolving around Curry’s 3-pointer-shots that would allow him to take them more often.” The strategy was to find a way to prevent the taller opponents from blocking Curry’s 6-foot-3-inch frame by double-teaming him. The solution lied in inducting someone taller than Curry, and equally strong and aggressive as a shooter to pull the opponents’ attention and still be able to shoot over defenses without getting blocked. The Warriors got their answer in the 6-foot-7-inch Washington State guard, Klay Thompson, son of another former NBA player. He joined the team in 2011.
The uniqueness of this strategy was that it had two superb 3-point-shooters. No existing 3-point- shooting team had done this before as all of them had only one excellent shooter surrounded by a group of supporting players. This novelty lent attractiveness to the strategy and motivated the Golden State Warriors to deploy it over the years, using different faces. It has helped them raise the performance bar of the sport and emerge victorious in number of seasons.
By Bashar Saajid
The New York Times: As 3-Point Shots Fly, Efficiency Suffers (Not to Mention Those Poor Rims)
NBA.com: Warriors History
The Wall Street Journal: The Golden State Warriors have Revolutionized Basketball
PointAfter.com: 2008-09 Golden State Warriors
Basketball Reference.com: Stephen Curry
Top, Featured and First Inline Image Courtesy of Keith Allison’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Second Inline Image Courtesy of Rocor’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License