Only one team has ever won 70 games in an 82-game NBA regular season. Only one. That’s it. But there have been 65 NBA champions since the Lakers — then in Minneapolis — won the first NBA Title in 1949-50. Chicago’s 72-win campaign in the 1995-96 season has been embedded with stronger ink in the history books than any of the 65 NBA champions. But while the Bulls’ impressive regular season record in Michael Jordan’s first full year back donning a No. 23 Bulls jersey ended in another championship for Chicago, what if Michael and Co. had been stymied in the Finals by the Sonics? What if they had lost to the Magic again in the playoffs? Wouldn’t they still have the best regular season record in NBA history? Isn’t that distinction more iconic than another ring; especially, as is the case with MJ’s Bulls, if they went on to win two titles in the ensuing two years?
Golden State’s 47-4 start to the regular season prompted this line of thinking. They’re on pace to push past the Bulls in the regular season win column, and most have them heavily favored to repeat as NBA champions. They’re the best team in the league, no question, and they’re playing like it. Stephen Curry is doing things on a basketball court that naturally lead to explosions of hyperbole on Twitter, but in the case if Steph, they really don’t seem like embellishments, even in retrospect (and almost none of your precious in-game thoughts on Twitter ever look prescient or droll, when looking retrospectively). While I’ll always have Michael as the GOAT (this was a parody, ya’ll), Steph’s making even grizzled NBA scribes lob in a few unnecessary adjectives while writing gamers.
With that in mind, I recently asked a group of media people a hypothetical during an event, and the answers varied more than I ever thought.
Here’s what I asked them:
“If the Warriors are 72-9, but Stephen Curry is suffering from a nagging ankle sprain, do you play Curry in the final game?”