It was on June 16, 2015, when Stephen Curry and the Warriors finally achieved the coveted Larry O’Brien Trophy—the most prestigious trophy in basketball—after beating LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2015 NBA Finals in six games. This was the season when the Warriors won 67 games in the regular season and won their first title in 40 years under head coach Steve Kerr. Stephen Curry was also named regular season MVP for the first time in his career, and Klay Thompson earned his first all-star recognition. This 2014–15 season sparked the beginning of the Warriors’ dynasty, which haunted the league for a decade.

In the following season, the Warriors shocked the world after going on an insurmountable 73-9 campaign during the 2015-16 season, breaking Jordan’s 1995-96 Chicago Bulls' 72-10 record. Curry won his 2nd straight MVP award and was the only player in NBA history to win it unanimously after a historic single greatest offensive performance of all time by a player in a season. They went back to the finals behind heroic efforts from Curry and Thompson in the West Semis and in the conference finals round. However, they would lose to the same Cavs in seven games after blowing a 3-1 finals lead against LeBron.

Nevertheless, the team’s future was still bright, as the finals loss would result in a huge off-season deal that broke the entire basketball world after the free-agency acquisition of former league MVP Kevin Durant. With two league MVPs in one team, the Warriors wreaked havoc in the NBA, winning back-to-back titles in the 2016–17 and 2017–18 seasons respectively. They would eventually lose in the 2018-19 finals against the Toronto Raptors, but they were riddled with injuries from that season until the 2020-21 season, and Durant’s departure after the 2018-19 finals saw cracks beginning to develop within the team.

The Warriors, however, would eventually return to their championship form in the 2021–22 season after finally being fully healthy, and the return of Klay Thompson after suffering two career-ending injuries in back-to-back seasons meant that the team had finally regained their full strength. They managed to lock in the third seed after winning 53 games and ultimately beating the Boston Celtics in six games in the 2022 NBA Finals, behind Curry’s all-time great performance, which earned him his first-ever Finals MVP. 

With the team looking invincible again after that championship from two years ago, this would eventually be the mark of the start of their tragic collapse.

The first crack of the Warriors’ dynasty began to show during the 2022–23 off-season during their team practice, where Draymond Green was seen sucker-punching Jordan Poole on the jaw on October 5, 2023, which was shown on leaked camera footage. Green and Poole’s physical altercation started when the two were arguing during their scrimmage. This hurt the team’s chemistry and, ultimately, trust in Green among the young guys in the locker room.

The altercation hampered the team’s performance, winning only 44 games—9 games less compared to the season prior. Not only that, but they had an abysmal road record of 11 wins and 30 losses. Their inability to consistently win on the road became the downfall of their season. They managed to go on a three-game winning streak to end the season, but it was only enough for them to secure the sixth seed.

A silver lining in the form of an all-time great, Stephen Curry, dazzled everyone in the first round of the playoffs against the young and upcoming Sacramento Kings led by De’Aaron Fox and former Warriors’ assistant coach and now the Kings’ head coach, Mike Brown. Despite similarities in both teams' offensive game plans, the Kings didn’t have Steph Curry. Curry dropped 50 points in Game 7 of the series to advance to the second round against a familiar foe in LeBron James and the Lakers.

The second crack happened in the Warriors-Lakers West Semis match-up, as the series saw the Lakers exploit the Warriors’ lack of interior defense. The Warriors were severely undersized to face the Lakers, with only Kevon Looney, who’s only a 6’9 center, as their tallest player. To further add insult to injury, Jordan Poole was immensely struggling in the series. Poole averaged a meager 8.3 points per game on horrible shooting splits. Poole also had an infamous moment during the series after a failed 30-footer shot attempt to tie the game, which he missed after refusing to give the ball back to Stephen Curry. The Warriors would eventually fall to the Lakers in six games. This spurred multiple questions with no answers for the team coming into the off-season.

Another crack opened when Bob Myers stepped down as general manager. Myers was pivotal in the Warriors’ dynasty, as the signings of Andre Igoudala back in 2013 and Kevin Durant in 2016 were core pieces that established the dynasty. He was then replaced by Mike Dunleavy, who made critical adjustments. Dunleavy let go of Jordan Poole during the off-season in a trade for an aging Chris Paul. This move spurred numerous negative reactions from basketball fans since not only are they trading their future, but Chris Paul is an aging, injury-ridden, undersized point guard whose best days are already behind him. Aside from that, the Warriors' interior issues remained unsolved.

Fast forward to the 2023–24 season; the Warriors' start was promising. They had a 5-1 opening record, which is reminiscent of their 2021–22 start. Chris Paul controlled the offense for the Warriors while Steph and Klay were draining threes left and right. However, after their hot start, the Warriors hit rock bottom again. Steph was godlike as always, but Thompson and Andrew Wiggins were a shell of themselves. Their numbers dropped significantly compared to seasons prior, with horrendous shooting percentages. This became a glaring crack within the team. Not only that, Green was again involved in a physical altercation, but this time it was against Suns’ Center Jusuf Nurkic, where Green hit Nurkic in the face and got penalized by serving a 12-game suspension.

While Curry was still performing at an all-time great level, he has shown signs of slowing down. It took him 5 years to not hit a single three-point shot, but this season, it only took him 2 weeks to entirely miss all of his three-point attempts on two occasions in that span. Uncertainties are roaming around the team as Klay Thompson showed no signs of signing an extension. Draymond also considered retirement after that altercation with Nurkic but was convinced by Steve Kerr and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to not push through with the decision. Kerr’s questionable coaching methods led to the Warriors’ young players having “lost faith'' after failing to include them in consistent minute allocations and playing time. Chris Paul fractured his hand again, which will keep him sidelined for weeks. This resulted in them dropping down on the 12th seed with an abysmal record of 17-19 for their standards as a "contender.”.

All these cracks and holes within the Warriors organization have led everybody to believe that their reign is finally coming to an end. The core is getting older, and nothing is getting cheaper for them anymore. Although they have the potential to turn things around despite these uncertainties, one thing is certain though—they are not who they used to be anymore.

The Warriors’ decade-long dominance with 4 titles in 8 years is finally coming to a tragic end. 

Amaranth Online Newsletter

Be part of our awesome online community!