By Heavenlee Blue
The Golden State Warriors have matched the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls with 72 regular-season wins, but there are still people including most former Bulls players declaring Chicago superior.
But who is truly the better team?
The Warriors must win their final game of the season at 10:30 p.m. EST today against the Memphis Grizzlies to set a new wins record. The Bulls’ record was thought to be unbreakable as recently as a few months ago, even as the Warriors raced off to a historic start of 24-1. (Below is a chart examining every game played by the Golden State Warriors this year and by the Chicago Bulls in the 1995-1996 NBA season.)
When looking at overall team stats, the Warriors would technically win, because they outscored the Bulls 115 to 105 on average (based on their average points per game each respective season). However, the two teams are nearly equal in field goal percentage and nearly equal in rebounding. While Michael Jordan’s offensive dominance made the headlines, it was his work on the defensive end that formed the body of the Bulls’ dynasty.
As for the Warriors, who currently rank fifth in defensive efficiency, their lone all-defensive player is Draymond Green. So, while both teams can score, the Bulls were more defensive minded and could stop the ball better.
A lot of people compare the two teams solely off the record. If you look at what the Warriors have done so far this year, they seem to be a bit ahead of the ’96 Bulls. On top of the record, they are the first team in history to go the entire NBA season without losing to the same team twice. They will finish the season without losing back-to-back games, something the Bulls didn’t accomplish. Also, by winning for the first time in 34 tries on the road in San Antonio, they became the only team in the NBA this year to beat the Spurs on their home floor.
Despite the incredible accomplishment, the Warriors have shown that they are human this season, losing four times to teams below .500 (Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves). Similarly, the Bulls demonstrated how difficult it is to be at your best every night by losing to two .500 teams (Phoenix Suns and Charlotte Hornets) during the 1995-96 season).
The debate about who is the greatest NBA team of all time won’t conclude tonight, regardless of the result of the game between the Golden State Warriors and the Memphis Grizzlies in the Oracle Arena in Oakland. Either way, April 13, 2016, will be remembered as a time when the Warriors had a chance to place a stamp in history.
2015-16 Warriors vs. 1995-96 Bulls
|Comparing the seasons|
|How the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors’ record matches up game-by-game with the 72-win Chicago Bulls of 1995-96.|