Apr 15, 2020 - Sports

Warriors reporter memorializes the team's decade of success and loss

Kendall Baker, author of Sports

Courtesy: PublicAffairs

Golden State Warriors reporter Ethan Strauss has a new book out called "The Victory Machine: The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty," which chronicles their boom-then-bust years through the 2010s.

The intrigue: I spoke with Ethan on Tuesday about why he wrote the book, what readers should expect to find inside and how he thinks the Warriors' dynasty will be remembered.

KB: What person — or moment — played a bigger role in this dynasty than people might realize?

"The wise Ron Adams — defensive guru, assistant coach, someone who's been coaching since the Lyndon Johnson administration — had a huge hand in the Warriors' revolutionary defensive strategy.
"His decision to have Andrew Bogut 'guard' Tony Allen in that 2015 series against the Grizzlies might have changed the course of basketball. The Warriors perhaps flame out if not for that suggestion."

KB: What person — or moment — played a smaller role than people might think?

"Draymond fighting with KD was a much smaller deal than it's thought to be. I think Kevin was gone, and that's why Draymond went off on him. So the idea that their on-court fight is why Kevin left — I just don't think that's the case."

KB: Take us inside the book. Is this a story about X's and O's basketball, or a story about what happens behind the scenes?

"It's both, but certainly the behind-the-scenes stuff is where you can take people on a little bit of a different journey than what they're used to. My concern sometimes is that it's a little too dark for what they might want.
"The NBA is often sold as 'fun, fun, fun,' but the truth is that the players survive a Darwinian crucible to get to the very top, there's a ton of pressure, they all know how much money their teammates are making as they try to form this team. To me, the off-court elements almost make the success of the on-court product miraculous sometimes."

KB: How will the Warriors' dynasty be remembered?

"It should be remembered as the greatest team ever — the 2017 team, specifically. But it probably won't be remembered that way.
"Some of that speaks to the team, but it also speaks to the conditions of our modern society where we seem more inclined to criticize failure (mocking blowing a 3-1 lead) than celebrate success (coming back from 3-1 down). It seems like the current trends are anti-celebration, but we'll see, maybe there will be nostalgia in the future."

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