Warriors' 2015 NBA Finals win holds special place in dynastic run

Logan Murdock
·3 min read

Editor's note: Relive the Warriors' Game 6 win in the 2015 NBA Finals on Saturday, April 11 at 8 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Bay Area.

Hours after Game 6 of the 2015 NBA Finals, Warriors guard Stephen Curry sat in the corner of the visitor's locker room at Quicken Loans Arena with the Larry O'Brien Trophy in the palm of his hands and champagne showers being sprayed on his face.

The visual was a defining symbol of a rare moment in the Bay Area at the time. Hours before, Curry's Warriors became the first Golden State team to win a title since 1975, erasing 40 years of mediocrity. The core of Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, coached by first-year coach Steve Kerr, beat LeBron James to ascend to the throne.

The era of Warriors mediocrity died that night and gave way to one of the greatest dynasties of all-time. It was the beginning of a new era in Golden State.

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The vision started five years prior, more than 2,000 miles away in the Warriors practice facility in Oakland, when newly appointed team COO Rick Welts verbalized where the Warriors could go.

"Everyone in the NBA, as I'm sure you know, looks at this franchise as really the sleeping giant," he proclaimed.

Prior to Welts' statement, the Warriors' on-court performance was dismal. Before Joe Lacob's group purchased the team in 2010, Golden State had been to the playoffs just once in 15 years. After Lacob purchased the team, a dynasty slowly began to take shape.

Two years after Curry was drafted, the Warriors picked Thompson with the 11th overall pick. A year later, they selected Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Festus Ezeli to round out the core. Along the way, they traded fan-favorite Monte Ellis for Andrew Bogut and signed veterans Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa and Mo Speights to strengthen the bench.

Still, even after postseason appearances in 2013 and 2014, the Warriors weren't considered title contenders six months before Curry's champagne bath in Cleveland. That distinction belonged to the Oklahoma City Thunder, led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the San Antonio Spurs, who won the title in 2014 and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who signed James in the summer.

But the Warriors surprised, winning a league-high 67 games, led by Curry's MVP season. In the postseason, Golden State eliminated the New Orleans Pelicans, Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets and to match up with the Cavs in the Finals. In the championship round, they overcame James' averages of 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists to lift the trophy.

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The 2015 iteration of the Warriors has a special place in organizational lore. It was the last time the team didn't play under championship expectations. The last time they weren't the hunted. Before Steph, Klay and Draymond were known on a first-name basis. A more modest time when the Warriors were the league's wonder kids.

The visual of Curry is a reminder of a simpler time. A year later, after blowing a three-games-to-one Finals lead to James and the Cavs, the Warriors signed Durant, who helped bring two more titles. By 2019, Green had earned a Defensive Player of the Year award and Thompson was recognized as one of the best shooters in league history, helping cap one of the best runs in NBA history.

But 2015 marked the start of that dynasty.

Warriors' 2015 NBA Finals win holds special place in dynastic run originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area