Are the Warriors Boring Now?

Starting with the 2014-15 season, the Golden State Warriors have put together a four-season stretch that rivals any team accomplishment in modern sports. If in about a week, the Warriors win the title as expected, they will become one of only a handful of teams in NBA history to win three championships in four seasons.

Even if LeBron James wills Cleveland to the Larry O'Brien Trophy, the Warriors since 2015 will still have achieved the greatest regular season ever in 2016 and arguably the greatest NBA playoff run ever in 2017.

But their win totals and championships probably don't do justice to their influence on the sport as a whole.

During this run, Golden State took the pace-and-space and small-ball movements that were already underway in the league to their next logical conclusions. On offense, their combination of three-point shooting, spread pick-and-roll concepts and Triangle Offense-inspired off-ball movement has been unstoppable. On defense, their tendency to eschew traditional positions and switch has been pervasive league-wide.

And yet, as these playoffs wind down, I can't help but think that many fans (including myself) are kind of bored with the Warriors, even as they continue to rewrite the record books.

To me, the type of person who buys League Pass every season and believes professional basketball is the greatest sport to watch and follow by far, this boils down to two reasons.

One, the Warriors themselves seem to be bored at times this season. Yes, injuries suppressed their win total down to "just" 58, but they also didn't especially fight for home-court once Houston overtook them in the standings at the All-Star Break.

Speaking of the Rockets, there's no denying that Golden State played far from its best basketball through most of the West Finals. Heck, I'm not sure the Warriors were truly worried about going home for the summer until they stared down a 10-point halftime deficit in Game 6 at home, down three games to two.

Of course, it worked out for them, even against undoubtedly the best West rival the Warriors have had to go up against in this four-year run. But there's something annoying as a fan about seeing a great team take its foot off the gas.

Two, this Warriors team has undoubtedly relied on iso ball far more that its predecessors, which is a direct result of now having Kevin Durant. I've been very complimentary of KD on the Warriors before, and he's still been an undeniably elite player in the playoffs, but something clearly changed about the Warriors offense the last several months (and possibly due to Steph Curry missing so much time late in the season) that's allowed Durant to embrace his worst stylistic instincts on a team that values ball movement so much. After all, KD barely had any iso possessions in last year's playoffs, and the Warriors went 16-1 and Durant was Finals MVP.

Now, other fans may be tired of Golden State because of their winning or because of that Durant acquisition, which is common in sports and fully understandable. Personally, I like seeing great teams in sports, but it's more enjoyable to see them if they're performing at an all-time level and not doing just enough to win the games they need to win.

And then there's Golden State's elephant in the room for this run — injury luck.

Obviously, injuries are part of sports. You can only play the teams that take the court against you. But this has been a ridiculous trend, and there's a part of me that can't help but think of it when evaluating the Warriors' successes historically.

In 2015, the Warriors got to play the Cavs in the Finals, who didn't have Kevin Love available at all or Kyrie Irving in the last five games of the series (his injury coming just minutes after making a game-saving block on Curry).

Last year, we had a Spurs/Warriors showdown years in the making for the West Finals — only for Kawhi Leonard to be injured by Zaza Pachulia as San Antonio had a huge lead in Game 1.

And then this year, Chris Paul, who was playing excellent all-around basketball in his first conference finals, got hurt and had to miss two closeout games for Houston. I refuse to believe that the Rockets miss 27 threes in a row in Game 7 if CP3 is on the floor.

Despite all of that, the Warriors can still be exhilarating to watch. Game 1 of this NBA Finals was a fun watch and well-played game — up until J.R. Smith's epic boneheaded play to close out regulation. Games 3 and 6 of the Houston series showed that when things are clicking on all cylinders for them, no basketball team has much of a shot at beating them. They sure aren't boring, but you can be forgiven if you're fatigued at watching them at times this season.

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