Strength in numbers: The Golden State Warriors' way

Strength in numbers: The Golden State Warriors' way

As Klay Thompson comes off a flare screen from Kevon Looney, rookie Brandin Podziemski delivers a bounce pass at the block to Jonathan Kuminga to run their patented split-action. Podziemski sets another screen at the wing and Kuminga delivers a pass right on the money to a curling Thompson. He sets his feet, lets one defender chasing him fly by and shoots a three right over the help defender.

Splash. Nothing but the bottom of the net, just like the old days. The Warriors are comfortably up after the third quarter against the Utah Jazz after Thompson hits his third-straight three and score his 35th point as he came off the bench for the first time since 2012. Although the Jazz had a big fourth quarter to keep the game close, the Warriors eked out with a win to continue playing their best basketball of the season.

The Warriors are fun again, so it seems.

After a tumultuous season filled with ups and downs, the Dubs are 8-2 over their last 10 games right before the All-Star break and preparing for another playoff push with their aging dynastic core.

What makes their run so special is the fact that they rediscovered a winning formula despite making zero moves at the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 8. Rumors were swirling, but they decided to stick with this group for the rest of the season – and possibly for seasons to come.

We did win a championship, in case people forgot, a year and a half ago,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr when asked if he believes this isn't the last dance for the Warriors' Big Three. “I believe in my guys, I love those guys, and we're going to keep fighting." 

Despite a seemingly lost season, the Warriors took a gamble by choosing to stand pat and stick with the core that won them a title two seasons ago, while trusting this new set of role players to fill in the gaps. 

The championship core from two years ago is still intact. Steph Curry is still an all-world talent and offensive force even at 35 years old. Draymond Green is back to his usual self. Since returning from his suspension, Green’s aggressiveness on offense and ever-reliant ability on defense have energized the team. 

Andrew Wiggins and Kevon Looney started the season with bad slumps, but are slowly getting back into their groove, while Gary Payton II continues to work his way back to being 100% healthy. Thompson has struggled as of late, but he can still be lethal scoring in spurts with just his mere shooting prowess.

The young guys are coming into their own as contributors and finding their identity within the team. Podziemski has been a revelation, serving as a connector on offense and earning Steve Kerr’s trust to start games and play with the closing lineup over Thompson. Kuminga is developing into a capable scoring option, which gives the Warriors another dimension.

Lately, the Warriors look like themselves again. Their in-game swagger is back and the vibes are immaculate. These are the Warriors of old, winning while having fun.

Given their recent success, they are confident that they still have at least one more run in them.

“This is a story that’s still kind of unfolding, and it’s important that we see it all the way through until it’s proven that we can’t win,” Curry said in an interview with The Ringer’s Logan Murdock.

The Warriors are determined to win, and they want to do it their way. And perhaps that’s the point.

This team was built from the ground up, with a collective effort from a group of players who were drafted and developed by the franchise. After all, it was the “Strength in Numbers” mantra that started it all, and it's only fitting to end their journey the same way they started: with a team that was built the right way.

The Warriors have won four championships in the last decade by using this formula, and they believe this same approach will lead them to another Larry O'Brien trophy. After doing it all these years, Thompson believes that they have what it takes to succeed once again by trusting their process.

“You see Steph Curry, you see Draymond Green, you see our playoff record when we are together,” Thompson proclaimed. “I’ll always believe.”

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