The Warriors are on pace to go 75-7.
At 21-2, Golden State not only has a sterling record, the team checks every box.
The Warriors have played the second-hardest schedule, based on opponents’ win percentage, among Western Conference teams in playoff position. They’ve played the second-most road games in the NA. And they’re outscoring teams by 10.8 points per game, best in the league.
Could Golden State challenge the 1995-96 Bulls’ 72-10 record?
The Warriors’ coach – Steve Kerr, who played for those Bulls – sure doesn’t think so.
When asked if the Warriors could pull it off, Kerr responded, “Oh God, no. No!”
Kerr followed that exclamation with, “We had this guy named Michael Jordan on that team. That year, I think we were 41-3. So if we can go 21-1 the next 22 games, come talk to me.”
“What I remember that year is there were about 10 games where Michael just decided, ‘We’re going to win,'” he said. “And every other team on Earth would have lost those 10 games. And Michael Jordan was … there’ll never be another one. Nobody has ever come close, and I don’t think anybody ever will. He wanted to break that Lakers record of 69 wins, so he decided we would do it, so we did it. There’s only one Michael.”
Kerr is right. Probably.
Winning 21 of 23 – the same start the 1995-96 Bulls had – is an impressive feat, but it’s hardly unique to record-setting teams. The Spurs did it last season. The Heat did the season before. The Warriors are just getting outsized attention because their hot streak has come to begin the season, and no other games cloud our impression of them.
Phil Jackson, who coached the 72-win Bulls, has said no Western Conference team will break the record because the travel is too grueling. The Warriors play in a conference with three time zones, and a team as far east as Memphis and New Orleans. Those road trips take a lot out of a team.
Plus, as Kerr mentioned, Golden State doesn’t have Michael Jordan. Even if the Warriors were in the East, it’s a long season, and it’s difficult to maintain the focus and intensity necessary to win 72 games. Not only could Jordan do it, he demanded his teammates follow suit. I can’t see Golden State – or anyone else – matching that.
The Warriors’ start is pretty special. Just nine teams have won so much so soon.
But 72 wins is a sky high bar to clear, even for Golden State.