As David Lee happily tweeted Thursday morning, ESPN (like many observers before the season) had given the Warriors zero chance to make the playoffs. And heading into the Denver series, most of those same experts are picking red-hot Denver (owners of an intimidating 38-3 home record) to win the first-round matchup.

This may be playing right into the Warriors' wheelhouse. The "no respect" theme is one that Mark Jackson has pounded into his players this season: no respect, no chance. Only doubters and detractors.

The most important player on the Warriors didn't need any print confirmation of his role as underdog. Stephen Curry is a budding NBA superstar, arguably the brightest, most intriguing face on either roster in this series.

But he has been fodder for the doubters his entire life, including all four years of his NBA career. Too little. College was too small. Not a point guard. Too injury prone.

"I've been there before," he said Thursday before the team boarded a plane to head to Denver. "I've never really been on a team that's been picked to do anything."

And now? With a playoff berth and an NBA record for single season three-point shooting in his pocket, is Curry delighting in vindication?

"It's a good feeling but not vindication," he said. "I knew I could do it. I knew all along."

Move over "We Believe." This is the season of self belief. Jackson has believed in his team all along. They've learned to believe in each other. And no one is more full of belief than Curry after a transformative 12 months.