Though the Golden State Warriors look absolutely terrifying on paper after signing Kevin Durant, don’t expect them to try outdoing regular-season history from the jump.
Or at all.
The Warriors broke the record for single-season victories last year, rattling off 73 wins, resetting the 72-win bar that the Chicago Bulls created in 1995-96. Immediately after win No. 73, it felt like no team would ever break that barrier again, at least not for a while. But then the Warriors signed Durant, and everything changed. Surely they could make a run at 74-plus victories now. They look that good. But while pondering Golden State’s upcoming season during his tour of Asia, Stephen Curry indicated that the team won’t be focused on breaking their own record:
— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) September 5, 2016
Here’s the transcription of what he said, via ProBasketballTalk’s Kurt Helin:
74 (wins) isn’t really a goal. If it happens, it happens. All of our energy will be spent on getting ourselves ready for a championship run. We want to have a great regular season obviously, we don’t want to have any slip-ups, but I don’t think coming into the season with the goal of 74 is a good focus. It’s about winning a championship.
This is a necessary mindset to have, largely because the Warriors wouldn’t get to 74 wins even if they tried. Yes, they seem that good on paper. But this is their first season with Durant. There will be growing pains as he, Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson figure out how to work together on the basketball court.
Successful formations of this magnitude take time. Even if the new-look Warriors graze their peak in Year 1, it won’t be until the middle of the season at the earliest. That gives them more than enough time to chase the Larry O’Brien Trophy, but all talk of 74 victories should get tabled until at least 2017-18—if it warrants talk at all—when Golden State will have a year of experience with its current core under its belt.