WASHINGTON • Two-time National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry will enjoy watching the Golden State Warriors hoist another championship banner today when they open the new campaign against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
But the three-point sharpshooter does not need to look to the rafters to know that the Warriors remain the team to beat as they begin the quest for a third consecutive NBA title and fourth crown in five seasons.
"I'm still glowing," Curry said. "The glow won't wear down until you get beaten."
The Warriors boast three other All-Stars in two-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant, defensive stalwart Draymond Green and Curry's back-court partner Klay Thompson.
There is also a fifth All-Star in injured centre DeMarcus Cousins, signed in July but still sidelined after Achilles tendon surgery in January.
Working him into the line-up once he returns could add some zest to the regular season for Golden State, who have so far avoided complacency from seeping in despite their dominance.
"That's the thing I'm most proud of with our team," Curry said. "We're talented and all that, but the work that goes into it, the mental approach to turn the page, has been there the last three years.
IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT TALENT
We're talented and all that, but the work that goes into it, the mental approach to turn the page, has been there the last three years. You work so hard to earn the right to be proud of yourself at the end of the summer.
STEPHEN CURRY, two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, on why the Golden State Warriors have won three championship rings in four seasons.
"You work so hard to earn the right to be proud of yourself at the end of the summer."
Golden State will try to become the first team since the 2000-2002 Los Angeles Lakers to win three consecutive NBA titles and match the second-longest championship run in NBA history, joining the 1950s Minneapolis Lakers and 1960s Boston Celtics as the only clubs to win four titles in five years.
The Celtics dynasty, with eight titles in a row and nine in all from 1957 to 1966, is the only NBA team to reach five consecutive NBA Finals - a feat the Warriors can achieve this season.
And forget about taking it one game at a time because the Warriors are not afraid to say they have the "three-peat" in their sights.
"I don't think it's something that's repeated every single day. But, when we start the season, obviously we lay everything out on the table, what's at stake in terms of our expectations," added Curry, who can match the 1990s Chicago Bulls teams powered by Michael Jordan if he picks up his third championship ring in a row.
"We understand that winning a championship is attainable if we take care of our business, and doing it three years in a row is a tremendous opportunity for us that we should go after."
But for a seventh-game loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals, the Warriors would already be celebrating four crowns in a row instead of seeking a fourth in five campaigns.
"You never stop enjoying it. You just start focusing on the next year," said Warriors coach Steve Kerr.
"But it's always there. You always see the banner hanging and you see your ring. It never quite goes away. That's the beauty of it."