The Warriors are already the greatest team of their era, but let’s see them win five or six titles like the 80s Lakers, 90s Bulls and 00s Lakers. I still put the 80s Lakers and Celtics at the very top, because there were two super teams that prevented each other from completely dominating the decade. The competition the Bulls faced was nothing like the Bird-Magic years. The Warriors-Cavs has a little of that flavor because Lebron is doing things in the playoffs no one has ever done before.

For a single playoff streak, though, the 2001 Lakers are still the greatest team of all time, because of their competition in the West that year. They swept Portland the year after the Trailblazers blew at 15-point fourth quarter lead in game 7 of the Western Conference Finals against the same Kobe-Shaq Lakers. Next, they swept a deep Sacramento Kings team that was arguably the best team in 2002 and 2003 after they added Mike Bibby. In the Western Conference Finals, they swept a Spurs team that had won a ring in 1999 and would win another in 2003. In the NBA finals, it took a game for the ages by Iverson to beat the Lakers in overtime.

All four opponents had at least one Hall-of-Fame level player: 51-win, #8 seed Portland (Pippen, Sabonis & possible nominee Rasheed Wallace); 55-win, #3 seed Sacramento (HOF finalist Chris Webber); 58-win, #1 seed San Antonio (Robinson & Duncan); and 56-win #1 seed Philadelphia (Iverson & Mutumbo).

In comparison, the Warriors played 41-win Portland, 51-win Utah, and a very good 61–win San Antonio team that lost its best player in the first game of that series. The only real test was 53-win Cleveland, which is primarily Lebron (in the discussion for GOAT) and Kyrie (on the trajectory for a Hall of Fame career), who blew out the Warriors in game 4. Cleveland is a very good team, but I don’t think they would have made the NBA Finals in 2015 and 2016 if they had to play in the Western Conference those years.

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Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at https://guttmanshapiro.com. Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

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