How does a winning franchise become a loser in just one year and how does one with a recent losing past become a winner? The phenomenon is currently lived in the best basketball in the world: the NBA.
LeBron James and Stephen Curry. / Photo: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
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Leer en español: Lakers y Warriors: historias diametralmente opuestas en la NBA
The 2019-20 campaign of the best basketball in the world presents two franchises with notable changes in relation to the most recent seasons. One is changing for good; Los Angeles Lakers, and the other for the worse; The Golden State Warriors.
Californians lead the Western Conference and have the second-best record in the NBA, behind the Milwaukee Bucks, supported by a correct technical direction of Frank Vogel, the explosive pair LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and a rejuvenated Dwight Howard, so not reaching at least the final Conference will be seen as a failure.
Those of San Francisco, in turn, experience an overwhelming decline that has them located in the pit of the same conference, although it is necessary to leave them the benefit of the doubt, not having Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, or Kevin Durant, these last two because they left for other teams.
LA Lakers green
So far this season, they have accumulated 11 straight wins as visitors, and that has been in their franchise history the third streak improvement, and the best since 1972 when they lined up 16 in a row. For those who believe in cabal, in the three previous opportunities in which the purple team obtained double-digit streaks as visitors, it always reached the final and was titled twice.
The aforementioned was the 19th string of victories as the most important visitors so far this century in the NBA, and coincidentally, LeBron James was part of three of them when he was part of the Miami Heat.
Unlike last season in which they never found 'teamwork', in this 2019-20, the team improves in daily life with its main stars on a high level, a team with chemistry, and an unusual strength as visitors.
The statements compiled by ESPN regarding the Lakers speak for themselves. Pivot Anthony Davis said "we have our mind set on something special," while coach Frank Vogel: "playing away from home the way we play is impressive. I couldn't be happier with what we are doing. There is optimism and with reasons".
Golden State without compass
With the Warriors, the most powerful team of the last five years in the NBA, something unimaginable is happening. Although the forecasts pointed out that this would be a difficult season and far from favoritism to the title, they all agreed that there was enough material to at least aim for the playoffs. That is a chimera today because the whole bay occupies the basement of the West and nothing suggests that they will not be eliminated.
To the marches of Durant, Iguodala and DaMarcus Cousins, Thompson's injuries are added before starting the season and Curry in the fourth game of the campaign. The arrival of D'Angelo Russell has not been enough, and the only survivor of the dynasty, Draymond Green, has assumed leadership without it being enough, because the player himself takes it easy, accepting that this will be a renewal campaign.
Numbers to get scared
57 wins in 2018-19, and 73 in 2015-16, five consecutive finals and three championships have gone to waste in this 2019-20 in which Golden State gave in 25 of its first 30 games. Coach Steve Kerr has not been able to get the magic formula for his new quintet: Jordan Poole, Ky Bowman, Glenn Robinson III, Eric Paschall, and Willie Cauley-Stein, to be the winner.
Yes, the difference with the quintet of the previous season is abysmal: Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green, and Cousins. But still, it is a rare phenomenon. The two most popular recent landslides of a franchise between one winning season and the next were the Cleveland Cavaliers of the 2010-11 season, just after LeBron's first exit from the Ohio quintet. The other was that of the Chicago Bulls in 1999, who fell sharply to a 26% winning percentage, after being crowned in 1998 with 75.6% of wins per game played.