The 2016-17 Golden State Warriors have made a mockery of Western Conference opponents this postseason, boasting a 14-0 record these playoffs heading into Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, yet to lose a game since March, back in the regular season.
With this success though comes the inevitable comparisons to the great teams of yesteryear. The '01 Lakers, the '96 Bulls, and in this case, the Showtime Lakers of the 1980's.
During a recent interview held by American Express, sitting alongside Miami Heat legend Pat Riley, Lakers legend Magic Johnson, when asked who would win between the two teams, went on record to say that his Lakers of the 1980's would not only beat these Warriors in a seven-game series, they would sweep them.
“We going win. We would probably sweep them. They are just too small.”
Now, I for one don't believe a word that Johnson is saying, and I'm a Laker fan, but I can see where he's coming from. The Showtime Lakers' main core consisted of Johnson running point, NBA all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar locking down the paint, and Finals MVP James Worthy on the wing, three Hall of Fame talents. They were also backed up by Michael Cooper, one of the greatest perimeter defenders in NBA history, and Byron Scott.
If these two teams did somehow go at it, it would be a matchup nightmare for both teams. No one would be able to contain Magic on the defensive end except maybe Draymond Green, but he'd be too busy matching up against Kareem, who would more than likely have his way in the post with his unstoppable skyhook. The opposite would also be true, as Magic's 6'9 frame would struggle mightily to keep up with Curry's dazzling dribbling displays.
Other than those two, Kevin Durant going up against James Worthy would be something to watch, and I doubt Klay Thompson, who's father actually played for the Lakers between 1987 and 1991, and Byron Scott would back down from each other.
Regardless of your opinion on who would win, the Warriors definitely deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the Showtime Lakers or the 1996 Chicago Bulls, as the stretch of basketball they've been playing recently is nothing short of extraordinary.