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Where ESPN ranks Warriors' recent titles among champs since 1998

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The Warriors dynasty's four NBA championships all were impressive in their own ways.

But how do Golden State’s recent title teams stack up against not just themselves, but all champions since the Chicago Bulls in 1998? 

ESPN’s ​​Kevin Pelton recently ranked teams based on point differentials, and differentials from the regular season and postseason (adjusted based on schedule strength). Here is where the Warriors’ four title teams since 1998 ranked among the list of 25:

1. 2016-17 Golden State Warriors (+14.3)

RS (regular season) point differential: +11.6

Adjusted (playoff) differential: +17.0

Golden State finished its 2017 NBA Finals run 16-1 -- the best playoff record in league history -- and only lost to the Cavaliers in the close-out Game 4 of the Finals. The Warriors finished the regular season 67-15, tied for the seventh-highest winning percentage ever.

“What happens when you take the core that won an NBA-record 73 games but not a championship (making the 2015-16 Warriors ineligible for this list) and add former MVP Kevin Durant? Predictably, the result was arguably the greatest team in league history and more clearly the best of the past quarter century,” Pelton wrote.

4. 2014-15 Golden State Warriors (+10.5)

RS point differential: +10.1

Adjusted PO differential: +11.0

This was the Warriors’ first title-winning team of the Stephen Curry era. Golden State’s core was young, as Curry was 28, Klay Thompson was 26, Draymond Green was 25 and Finals MVP Andre Iguodala was 32. 

“Along with the 2016-17 Warriors, the 2014-15 team was the only other one since 1998 to outscore teams by double figures during the regular season and have a double-digit playoff differential after adjusting for opposition,” Pelton added.

6. 2017-18 Golden State Warriors (+10.0)

RS point differential: +6.0

Adjusted PO differential: +14.0

The Durant-led Warriors remained unfair during this playoff run, but James Harden and the Houston Rockets were at their peak, making matters difficult out west. Cleveland’s J.R. Smith made his infamous fourth-quarter clock error after a George Hill missed free throw in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals, too.

“Golden State was then pushed to the brink by the Houston Rockets in the conference finals, needing to win the last two games (including Game 7 in Houston) to get back to the Finals," Pelton wrote. "After overcoming a 51-point performance from James in Game 1 against the Cavaliers to win in overtime, the Warriors completed their only Finals sweep.”

18. 2021-22 Golden State Warriors (+7.7)

RS point differential: +5.5

Adjusted PO differential: +9.9

While the lowest-ranked title on Pelton’s list, this feat might be the most meaningful to Golden State’s core and Dub Nation. 

Many believed Golden State couldn’t win without the fortunes of Durant and rival teams being injured, but Curry and the Warriors silenced the naysayers by taking down Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics -- who, as of Wednesday afternoon, are two wins away from winning the 2024 NBA Finals -- in six games.

The Warriors won just 53 regular-season games due to Green and Curry battling injuries, and Thompson was rounding out his first season after missing the previous two. 

But behind 91 made 3-pointers from Curry throughout the playoffs and a total team effort, Golden State was able to hoist its seventh and most recent Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy in franchise history.

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