Nearly a month ago, the streets of Downtown Oakland were filled with chants of “back-to-back!,” as confetti rained down on Steph Curry, Steve Kerr and the Warriors after they won their third NBA Championship in four seasons.
As the parade was on going in Oakland, 45 miles south, Kyle Shanahan was probably hovered in his office, watching film on this season’s opponents, digging for an advantage.
While the Bay Area’s basketball team was likely etching it’s name in history as one of the greatest teams ever, the local football franchise has their sights set on following in the Warriors’ footsteps.
As I began to peel back the layers towards the root of Golden State’s success, it became glaring that it was centered around superstar Stephen Curry and head coach Steve Kerr.
Curry, the small-school prospect, was passed on by multiple teams, only to fall to the Warriors’ lap in the draft. Kerr, the on-court architect, has a strong offensive system that’s dependent on movement of the ball, rather than the individual skill of the player.
Starting in 2015, the duo would begin their reign over the NBA, a period in which they won a record number of games, two MVPs, a Coach of the Year award and three rings.
With the San Francisco 49ers set to embark on a journey of their own, their success will largely be determined by head coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. They may not have the accomplishments that Kerr and Curry do, but it’s hard not to see them getting there in a few seasons.
Garappolo, a former FCS athlete, was passed over for other quarterbacks, similar to Curry. Shanahan’s offensive design has proven to be successful in Atlanta and Washington, regardless of the talent on his roster.
While 49ers’ fans are starting to see shades of Bill Walsh and Joe Montana in Shanahan-Garappolo, I think the natural comparison fans should be making is with their basketball counterparts.
In an era defined by player movement, Kerr and Curry have created an organization that breeds success for its superstars. The Warriors’ point guard has become the poster-child for self-less stars that put winning above everything.
By the looks of it, the 49ers’ quarterback seems to doing exactly the same thing. In a single season, San Francisco has been restored from a mockery to an ideal landing spot for free agents. Win-chasing veterans, from CB Richard Sherman to C Weston Richburg have joined the 49ers in hopes of future success.
The 2018 49ers are beginning to have a 2014-15 Warriors feel to them. While Golden State had made the playoffs in the seasons prior, they took a giant leap, when most didn’t expect them to do so. Outside of Northern California, most pundits are predicting the 49ers to be in the mix for a playoff spot, but local optimism is far greater.
San Francisco finished the season with a 5-0 record with Garappolo in the driver’s seat, so expectations are — rightfully — running high. As Coach Shanahan looks to revive 49ers’ football, he should look no further for a blueprint than Oakland.