Are the three-time champion Warriors the greatest NBA team of all time?
That's going to be the quick-time discussion after watching the Warriors dispose of the Cavaliers to win the 2018 NBA Finals. The core of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green indeed made history, and as a result we're going to want to prop them up against that history. Pick whichever one of those three championship teams you want.
We just watched Golden State beat a Cleveland team that featured LeBron James for the second straight season with a combined 8-1 Finals record. Given the Warriors have beaten the Cavs three times in four years, we'll give them the advantage in that rivalry.
What about other former champions? Which teams would you take over the Warriors? That list might be short. Here are 12 teams since the NBA-ABA merger we'd love to see play against Golden State, and who we think would win in that series.
Agree to disagree, right?
Records: 65-17 regular season, 12-2 playoffs
What we'd love: These were the famous "fo', fo', fo'" Sixers that backed up Moses Malone's bold prediction and tore through the postseason. Malone, who averaged 24.5 points and 15.3 rebounds that season, and Julius Erving finally won their championship rings.
The parallels with Erving and Durant are there, and that matchup would be off the hook. How would the Warriors deal with Malone? How would the 76ers' underrated backcourt of Maurice Cheeks and Andrew Toney hold up against the Splash Brothers?
Who wins? Warriors in seven. It could go the other way if Erving outplays Durant.
Records: 67-15 regular season, 15-3 playoffs
What we'd love: Larry Bird and Kevin McHale were at the top of their games, and Boston had Bill Walton coming off the bench to back up Robert Parish. Boston went 40-1 at home and scored 114.1 points per game. Would Dennis Johnson and Danny Ainge slow down Golden State's backcourt? The matchup between Bird and Durant would be an all-timer.
Who wins? Warriors in seven, unless they don't have home-court advantage. In that case, we might take the Celtics.
Records: 65-17 regular season, 15-3 playoffs
What we'd love: This would be the most up-and-down series of all time. The Lakers had four players who averaged 17 points or more in Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Byron Scott and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Seven LA players averaged double figures. Who guards Durant? Who guards Kareem? The matchup possibilities are fantastic.
Who wins? Lakers in seven. We can't pick against Magic and Kareem here, but this definitely wouldn't be a sweep. This is possibly the toughest one to pick on this list.
Records: 63-19 regular season, 15-2 playoffs
What we'd love: We need to know the rules before they hit the court. How physical would the Pistons be able to get with the Warriors? The backcourt matchup of Curry and Thompson against Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars would be fun. Perhaps Detroit would put Dennis Rodman on Durant. How long until Bill Laimbeer and Draymond Green get a double technical?
Who wins? Warriors in six. The rules would determine everything here, however. If the refs let them play, then this underrated Pistons team has a shot.
Records: 61-21 regular season, 15-2 playoffs
What we'd love: The Bulls burned through the playoffs for the first of six championship runs, and Michael Jordan had help from double-digit scorers Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant. Chicago ranked fourth in the league in points allowed, too. How much hand-checking would the refs allow? Would MJ or Pippen guard Durant?
Who wins? Warriors in seven. Hold the outrage. We'll see the Bulls again on this list soon.
Records: 58-24 regular season, 15-8 playoffs
What we'd love: This would've been a unique challenge for the Warriors because Hakeem Olajuwon was at the top of his game and had an excellent supporting cast with five players that averaged double figures. Kenny Smith and Vernon Maxwell would be X-factors in this series with their shooting, and keep in mind Sam Cassell and Mario Elie came off the bench. The contrast in styles would lead to some close games.
Who wins? Warriors in six. Golden State would have to be on top of its game to counter Olajuwon, but the Dubs get the job done.
Records: 72-10 regular season, 15-3 playoffs
What we'd love: This is the dream matchup. The Bulls' best team under Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan against the Warriors' best championship team to date. The matchups? Jordan and Pippen combined for almost 50 points per game that year, and role players such as Dennis Rodman, Ron Harper and Toni Kukoc helped a defense that allowed 92.9 points per game. Rodman vs. Green would be an intriguing matchup. How would Steve Kerr the player fare against Kerr the coach?
Who wins? Bulls in seven. Finally, somebody took MJ to a seventh game.
Records: 56-26 regular season, 15-1 playoffs
What we'd love: This is tough because we could have taken the 1999-2000 Lakers instead, a 67-win team that featured Glen Rice as the third-leading scorer. We took the following team, one that had Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant both averaging more than 28 points per game. It had a few pieces from Phil Jackson's legendary Bulls teams in Horace Grant and Ron Harper, and role players in Derek Fisher, Rick Fox and Robert Horry.
The contrast in styles would be great. How would Fisher and Fox defend Curry and Durant? How would the Warriors handle Shaq and Kobe?
Who wins? Lakers in seven. Of all the hypothetical series on this list, this one might just be the best.
Records: 60-22 regular season, 16-8 playoffs
What we'd love: We wanted to put the 1998-99 team on this list, which blew through the playoffs in a strike-shortened season, but Gregg Popovich's second championship team featured Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili to go along with Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Malik Rose, Stephen Jackson and Bruce Bowen. It's a loaded team that was methodical enough to give this Warriors squad a run for its money. Would Bowen have an impact on Curry?
Who wins? Warriors in six. Should we have gone with the 1998-99 Spurs when Robinson had a larger role instead?
Records: 66-16 regular season, 16-10 playoffs
What we'd love: This veteran team bolted out to a 29-3 start. Despite a tough playoff road, the core of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen led the Celtics to a championship. That's a super team that could hang with another one, no doubt about it. Boston also played great defense, allowing just 90.3 points per game.
Who wins? Warriors in seven. The Celtics wouldn't go away lightly, and this series would get chippy in a hurry.
Records: 66-16 regular season, 16-7 playoffs
What we'd love: This was the second of back-to-back championships for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and the addition of Ray Allen didn't hurt. That's a super team that could stack up to the Warriors and make for an interesting series. Would Wade and James be able to outperform Curry and Durant? Shane Battier and Mike Miller would be key role players in the series.
Who wins? Warriors in seven. It's the home-court advantage in a tight series. James, however, could absolutely steal it for the Heat given the supporting cast.
Records: 60-22 regular season, 16-8 playoffs
What we'd love: This team chewed up the Heat in five games to win the NBA championship, and featured six players that averaged double figures. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker led the way, and Kawhi Leonard won NBA Finals MVP. At least he would be on the floor for this series, right?
Who wins? Warriors in six. The familiarity would create a series that would have been far better than this year's playoff matchup.
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