When Miami Heat president Pat Riley watches Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson play, he thinks about his former Los Angeles Lakers teammates Jerry West and Gail Goodrich. One of the best backcourts in the history of the NBA, West and Goodrich led the Lakers to 33 consecutive wins and a championship in 1972.
Riley was a member of this historic team and sees some comparisons between Goodrich and West and Curry and Thompson. He even thinks that the Warriors are beginning to create a dynasty.
From Riley, these are ultimate compliments — comparing anyone to West and Goodrich, or one team to that 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers team that won 33 consecutive games and rolled to the NBA championship. But that's the level of the praise he's doling out these days to Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the rolling Golden State Warriors.
"They are the two most dynamic players in the backcourt, that I have ever seen, since Jerry West and Gail Goodrich," Riley said. "Go back and check their numbers, 25 points apiece and Jerry leading the team in assists, Gail shooting close to 50 percent or whatever it was. Both of them could shoot it, could drive it, could pass it. That's what you're seeing here."
"They are in the beginning of something that can be dynastic," Riley said. "They're in the beginning stages of it and that's the scary part, versus somebody that catches lightning in a bottle one time. They're at the beginning because all of their key players, all of them, are young and they're talented. The ones that aren't have what I call youth-age, like Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bogut, Shaun Livingston — those guys bring an element to the team is incredible."
The comparison is a valid one. West and Goodrich only won one championship as a player, so Curry and Thompson already have the same number of rings as the Lakers duo. As Reynolds notes, their overall numbers are also quite similar. West and Goodrich combined to average 51.7 points per game in the 1971-1972 season while Curry and Thompson are averaging 49.8 points combined this season.
Riley is also right about the Warriors beginning to create a dynasty. Yes, Golden State has only won one championship so far but they have started this season on a historic pace and look to be unbeatable. If they keep it up all year long and repeat as champions, then Golden State will definitely be considered as one of the best teams in the history of the NBA, as only a handful of teams have ever won back-to-back championships. It may be too early to call them a legitimate dynasty but Riley has a point and only time will tell if Golden State actually becomes one.