First off I want to say thank you to the Warriors and Kevin Durant. They have put every team on notice that they must either play to win or not even try at all. We’ve seen the best duo in the East split up, stars run West, and teams go to straight rebuild mode.
Last year we saw the Warriors run through the playoffs with a 16-1 record and won by an average margin of 13.5 points. Nobody was touching them. A few things to point out:
1. No team the Warriors faced were equipped to defend them. The Spurs were up by 20+ before Zaza was called upon as the Hitman.
2. Injuries plagued all the teams the Warriors played until the Finals. Which wouldn’t have mattered for the Jazz or Blazers but it would’ve made for more competitive basketball at the least!
This offseason a lot of teams sought to fix that talent gap. How do they stack up this season?
The young pups are trying to grow up and do it fast. They went all in this offseason trading in their future for right now. Adding Teague, Jimmy, and Gibson gives them some tough veterans to throw themselves in that contender ring. They have the bodies to matchup with the Warriors defensively. Having Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins for KD and Klay can make life a lot more difficult than any combination of guys who had to guard them for the playoffs last year. They can beat them on defense and on the glass. It’s only a matter of can they play together on offense which is a huge question mark. Teague is a solid PG but he’s going to have to do a better job of getting everyone touches on his team. They need it if they’re going to have a chance with Golden State.
The Rockets made a risky move giving up all those pieces for an aging Chris Paul. I don’t think it will be worth it in the long run. James Harden has someone to free him up off the ball so he can have more room to operate and show how great off the ball he is. CP3 and The Beard aren’t enough firepower to go take on the Warriors team of shooters. They can’t win a track race with them and they don’t have guys who can slow down their shooters. Houston may put up some good high scoring fights but it won’t be enough to slow down GS. I see them as being one of the best teams in the West during the regular season but they can’t touch the Warriors come playoff time.
All things are possible through Grand Coaching Wizard Greg Poppivich and his star Kawahi Leonard. After Tim’s retirement they bounced back to the 2nd best record in the West and was up 20+ in Oracle before Kawahi went down. They return most of their team and added Rudy Gay. It will be interesting to see if Pops can make use of a guy who has been known to make teams he plays for worst. Being able to have a solid offense, a great defensive plan, and strong inside presence are my big keys to stopping Golden State. We know the Spurs can bring it.
This Thunder team is hungry. It has weapons, only question is can they attack together. Like the Timberwolves they matchup well defensively and has the edge inside. Their top tier talent is some of the best in the NBA as well. I think Russ learns to give up the ball more this year and OKC becomes the most likely contender to knock off the Warriors. They have the guys to get stops and baskets. #ThundrerUp
Lebron said that the team was top heavy as sh*t last year. It showed during the Finals. Losing Kyrie hurts but IT can play the same role CLE wanted him to play they have a defensive stopper in Crowder and a top 5 pick to make another move. If they want to win now and think they’re keeping Lebron they should move that pick. The team as is has a shot against the Warriors.
Boston has put themselves in a great spot after this offseason. But they aren’t there yet. Kyrie and Gordon aren’t going to be enough for the Warriors. They’ll do great in the East and may even have a chance to beat the Cavs. But they have no answer for Kevin Durant. Maybe they’ll get one in the future but this year won’t be the year. #KyrieForMVP still though.
Did I miss any teams? Do y’all think some of these teams have a shot and others don’t? Let me know in the comments section!