The Golden State Warriors mantra of “Strength in Numbers” has been repeated so often and believed so earnestly around the team’s headquarters, it’s become a lightning rod for criticism.
Fans on social media criticize head coach Steve Kerr for playing too many people in key moments, using the phrase against the team.
But, after the Dubs won another title against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2017 NBA Finals — capping one of the most successful three-year spans in league history — it’s going to be increasingly difficult to use Kerr’s words against him.
Kerr said with champagne in his hair on Monday, “It’s interesting, when you look at championship teams, each player has their own story.”
Here are the stories of these Warriors, including their high points (excluding winning a title) and more:
High point: Proving that something wasn’t right with him healthwise in the 2016 Finals by showing he’s an MVP-caliber player in each of Golden State’s wins in the title round.
Quotable: In denying he pretended to poop on the floor of Quicken Loans Arena during Game 3, Curry said he wasn’t paying tribute to an NFL receiver who mimed mooning fans in Green Bay. “No Randy Moss,” he said.
What’s next: Likely become the first NBA player to utilize the new CBA provision, “Designated Veteran,” that allows him to get around 35 percent of the salary cap. His deal is expected to be worth more than $200 million over the next five years. Owner Joe Lacob said he’s willing to spend whatever it takes to keep the face of the franchise.
High point: With 10 minutes remaining in Game 5 and the Warriors clinging to a five-point lead, Durant made a 25-foot 3-pointer to give his team some breathing room. He turned around and clenched both his fists in front of his chest, confident that his first title would be soon to come.
Quotable: “I’m talking too much at this point. I had a couple too many beers. I haven’t had a beer since February. So to have a beer right now and come talk to you guys, it feels great,” he said with his Finals MVP trophy on the table in front of him.
What’s next: He has a $27.7 million player option under his current deal. Or he could opt out and agree to a $35.5-million max contract. If he does that, the Warriors won’t have any room to sign other free agents. Durant said he’s willing to take a roughly $3.5-million pay cut to make room for possibly Andre Iguodala and/or Shaun Livingston.
High point: In the only close game of the first round, Green logged nine points, eight rebounds, seven assists, six blocks and two steals. He also (relatively) maintained his composure throughout the playoffs, proving that he learned his lesson from a year ago.
Quotable: Speaking to David Aldridge before the season, Green said, “I want to destroy Cleveland. No ifs, ands and buts about it. … And if and when we get to that point, I want to annihilate them.”
What’s next: He has three more years left on his deal, so there won’t be any contract negotiations this summer. So expect him to spend a lot of time gloating and spending time with his son, Draymond Jr., who was born shortly before Christmas this season.
High point: Breaking out of a sustained cold streak in the playoffs to shoot 17-for-35 from deep over the last four games of the Finals. But if you asked him, he’d probably say his favorite moment was playing well enough to get reporters to not ask about his shooting anymore.
Quotable: [Throws paper airplane]
What’s next: Mostly celebrating. He’ll probably watch his brother, Trayce, play some baseball. He might even be spotted at Dolores Park with his trumpet again.
High point: Only one of his plays from Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals will be remembered — when he slid under Kawhi Leonard, causing the MVP candidate to aggravate an ankle injury — but Pachulia had his best game of the postseason that night. He scored 11 points, grabbed nine rebounds, threw three assists and had one steal and block apiece.
Quotable: “I finished with more points than Klay did,” Pachulia said after Game 3 against the Utah Jazz. Pachulia scored seven.
What’s next: Unrestricted free agency and potentially a veteran’s minimum offer from the Warriors.
High point: Earlier in the season, some wondered if Iguodala could still dunk. In Game 5 against the Cavs, he dunked four times en route to a season-high in minutes and 20 points.
Quotable: “Hell nah” was Iguodala’s response when USA Today’s Sam Amick asked if he would be going to the White House should the team get invited.
What’s next: Whether Iguodala, an unrestricted free agent, returns to the Warriors or not mostly depends on how much he values money over championships and what Durant decides to do.
High point: Combining with Iguodala to be a steadying force in the third quarter of Game 5. In that stretch, West did a little bit of everything that makes him a great NBA player: rebounded, distributed, finished and intimidated.
Quotable: After being criticized for chasing rings over money, West said, “That shit don’t matter. You put material wealth or material riches over things that will change you as a human being. And at the end of the day, we’re human beings. Everyone is caught up in this material world and the things and the things and the things. The Egyptians couldn’t take those things with them.”
What’s next: Most likely retirement or returning on a vet’s minimum deal for a run at another ring. West is a successful investor and doesn’t need the salary, but who knows if he wants to chase the thrill of another ring.
High point: For a two-game span in the first round, McGee was the Warriors’ best big man. He averaged 14.5 points per game with 4.5 rebounds and two blocks.
Quotable: “I’m the only person ever with a rat tail and a NBA championship! Let that sink in!” he tweeted.
What’s next: A big payday from another team.
High point: Scoring 36 points on 21 attempts in a regular-season matchup against the San Antonio Spurs when Kerr sat most of the regular rotation players.
Quotable: “He yells at you,” he said after a pause to describe West’s leadership style.
What’s next: Clark is another Warriors role player who should expect a solid pay raise after playing well under the bright lights of being on the most scrutinized team in the NBA.
High point: Playing critical minutes in a close-out game of the NBA Finals. After months of looking timid on the floor, McCaw found his confidence when the Warriors needed it most.
Quotable: “I didn’t know we had to practice at the arena,” McCaw said during the NBA Finals, unaware of the change to the team’s routine. “I think I’ll start to ask guys how it works when it gets closer to that time, what exactly goes on.”
What’s next: The second-round pick should get increased playing time when he returns next year and Clark is most likely playing for another team.
James Michael McAdoo
High point: Scoring eight points and grabbing seven rebounds in a return to North Carolina in January.
What’s next: Unrestricted free agency. He could be back if he finds the market for his services to be underwhelming.
High point: Signing with the Warriors after Durant’s injury and having applause rain down on him from fans who remember his contributions to the We Believe teams.
What’s next: He doesn’t plan to retire, but it’s unclear where he’ll land this offseason.
High point: In an April 10 game for the Santa Cruz Warriors, Jones logged career highs in points (17), rebounds (12), assists (2) and steals (2).
What’s next: A chance to crack the rotation on a defending champion.
By C.J. Peterson Special to S.F. Examiner OAKLAND — Upon returning to the Bay Area after an 0-3 road trip…