The Golden State Warriors are heading into their sixth NBA Finals in eight years. The last team with that streak of Finals runs was the Jordan-era Bulls.
The Warriors have won three rings but lost twice in their five Finals trips so far — but that’s not how Draymond Green sees it. He told Marc Spears of ESPN’s Andscape.com that nobody has beaten a healthy Warriors team (and that’s why he never lost faith the past two years the team would be back in this moment).
Because nobody had beat us. No one has ever beaten us whole. Ever. Has not happened yet. In 2016, I got suspended from a game [in the Finals]. In 2019, Kevin Durant goes down [during the Finals]. But then you follow that over to Cleveland, no one has ever beat us whole.
Did anyone think Green would say anything else?
In the 2019 Finals against a Kawhi Leonard-led Raptors team, injuries did change the course of the series. Durant had leg issues, tried to play through it and made things worse. Klay Thompson tore his ACL. Role players were banged up. We’ll never know if a healthy Warriors team wins that series, but in the handful of minutes Durant did play the Warriors looked the better team.
The 2016 Finals is more of a debate. Green was suspended for a game, but that was something he earned, not a random injury that is more about luck. Also, Andrew Bogut was injured in the latter stages of that series and it changed the Warriors’ rotation. That said, the Warriors were up 3-1 and had three chances to close out the win, two with Green playing, and could not — LeBron James and the Cavaliers beat them. Straight up.
That doesn’t diminish the Warriors’ legacy or era at all — this is still a team that changed how the NBA is played. With his combination of defense on one end and secondary playmaking on the other, Green changed what is expected of big men in the league. This is still a team with three rings and counting.
The Warriors are the healthier team heading into this Finals. Whatever happens that cannot be the excuse.