It's been a banner year for San Francisco sports. With the Giants winning their second World Series in three years and the 49ers going for their 6th Super Bowl title, it's easy to forget about the Golden State Warriors.
OK so they play in Oakland, and yes they've existed somewhere between totally sucking and one magical-yet-ill-fated We Believe year for a while, but times, they are a-changing.
We are at the exact midpoint of the season, so it's the perfect time to start watching games and getting to know the players. You don't want to be called a bandwagon fan when they make the playoffs, do you?
Here are the facts:
- The Warriors are really, really good this year. They're currently 26-15, 5th in the Western Conference, 2nd in the Pacific Division, and are on pace to win 52 games (the most wins since 1992). The Warriors are also the only team in the NBA who've beaten the Miami Heat, OKC Thunder and LA Clippers–the supposed three best teams in the league. And unlike the "We Believe" Warriors team, these guys can actually play defense. They rank 6th in opponent field goal percentage, meaning teams that play the Warriors shoot 6-worst in the league.
- They've done all of that without their biggest offseason acquisition, Andrew Bogut. They traded for the Aussie center with the knowledge that he might not be able to play this season due to an ankle injury, and unfortunately after a few early-season starts Bogut is still sitting on the bench.
- There's a new arena in the works! In 2017 it will be goodbye Oracle, and hello glorious new $500 million waterfront SF stadium. The glass beauty will be located under the Bay Bridge, halfway between the Ferry Building and AT&T park.
So, not only are the Warriors winning games, but the players themselves are pretty special too. In comparison to other teams in the league, the Warriors are noticeably devoid of a superstar. Instead, they have semi-scrappy group comprised of cast-offs and rookies, who have come together to make one impressive team. So many dudes to fall in love with!
Here's what you need to know about the starting lineup:
1. Stephen Curry, Point Guard (@StephenCurry30)
Our superstar in the making! Poised and confident, it's no surprise his dad played in the NBA. He also leads the league in three-pointers and was robbed (robbed!) of an All Star invitation this year. Single ladies, we're sorry to say this new dad is taken, but at least you can see his wedding photos here.
2. David Lee, Power Forward (@Dlee042)
Lee was an All Star in New York, and has been the team leader of the Warriors since he arrived in the Bay in 2010. It's rumored he lives in SoMA, and has been spotted going to the movies at the Westfield mall. And it was just announced Lee will be the Warrior's first All Star since 1997(!), finally breaking our sad All Star drought.
3. Klay Thompson, Shooting Guard (@KlayTrey)
Along with Curry, Klay makes up the Warrior's fierce backcourt. His deadly three-point shot and cool demeanor were featured on a Warrior's commercial. Just like Curry, his dad is an NBA alum too, and the two have been dubbed the #SplashBrothers due to their insane three-point shooting.
4. Festus Ezeli, Center (@FezzyFel)
As one of the two rookies on our starting lineup, Festus is just about as adorable as they come. Originally from Nigeria, Festus picked up basketball after moving to Yuba City (outside Sacramento) to continue his education as a teenager.
5. Harrison Barnes, Small Forward (@HBarnes)
Barnes is the Warrior's second rookie, and although he has on and off nights, all you really need to know about this kid's potential, you can see here. Supposedly Harry's mom taped all Michael Jordan's games for him to watch over and over again–she knew a superstar in the making when she saw one.
We've got one, and they're AWESOME.
Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack score major points off the bench and are one of the biggest reasons the Warriors have been so successful this year (thanks guys!). Plus, Jack's halfcourt, buzzer beater was one of the most incredible plays we've ever seen.
Rounding out the team, we have Richard Jefferson who wins for worst tattoo, Draymond Green who has his own sitcom, and Ken Bazemore and Jeremy Tyler who are by far the most enthusiastic teamates we have EVER seen. And although he doesn't score much, Andris Biedrins lives on as our own Latvian heartthrob.
If you're currently a Warrior's faithful (and there are a lot of us–games regularly sell out), then a big high five to you. And if you haven't seen the light yet, now's the time!