2015-16 NBA Previews – Warriors
The Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in game six of the NBA Finals, topping off their best season in franchise history. Reequipped with the same, young starting lineup, the Golden State Warriors are primed for another title run. Do Steve Kerr’s Warriors have what it takes to be repeat champions?
Golden State Warriors Season Preview
Head Coach: Steve Kerr
2014 Record: 67-15
Warriors Odds to NBA Title: 5-1
Warriors Odds to Win Conference: 14/5
Golden State Warriors Strengths:
The Golden State Warriors are coming off their best season in franchise history, topped off by an NBA Finals victory over LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers. Best of all for the Dubs is that they are coming into the season with the exact same starting lineup with only three minor adjustments made on the bench.
The common downfall of previous champions comes from their inability to get everyone paid, however the front office in Oakland played their financial cards right.
This leaves the Warriors once again primed for a championship run behind MVP Stephen Curry, defensive beast Draymond Green, two-way savage Klay Thompson, and the up-and-coming high-flying Harrison Barnes.
The scariest thing for the rest of the Association is that the Warriors possess the same strengths that they had last year, but these skills may be even more refined with this young core lineup putting another year of experience under their belt.
Head coach Steve Kerr, coaching the Warriors to an NBA title in his first year as a coach, gains himself a year of invaluable experience. The question remains the same for the Warriors; can anybody keep up with their efficient fast-paced scoring?
The Warriors, despite the whole stigma around “championship hangovers,” should be title favorites after an offseason that showed nothing but progress. This very well could be a multi-year championship franchise in the making.
Golden State Warriors Weaknesses:
Golden State’s one and only primary weakness is their inability to defend a strong big man oriented offense. Draymond Green, though a talented player, is only 6’7″ at the power forward position and starting center Andrew Bogut, who missed 15 games to injury last season, could only do so much as the only true big man in the paint.
Their true 6’9″ power forward David Lee, who only played in 49 games last season, was left off the team’s budget this offseason as Green is expected to take over as the full-time four.
The scary thing about this Warriors team is that playing to their weaknesses, with a big man focused offense, may just get you beat.
The Cavaliers learned this the hard way as Timofey Mozgov’s dominance opened up the door of small ball for Steve Kerr, who ran a starting lineup with Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, and Draymond Green all in the front court.
However, there are many better front courts than what the Cavaliers brought to the table. Expect these teams to focus on their big men while hustling back on defense. The other way to beat the Warriors? Just hope and pray that they have an off shooting night.
Golden State Warriors Key Personnel Losses:
There wasn’t much movement during the offseason for this Warriors team. David Lee, who had seemingly fallen out of importance in Kerr’s rotation after having years of prior success, was let go and had eventually signed with the Boston Celtics.
Justin Holiday, brother of New Orleans Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday, was signed by the Atlanta Hawks. Finally, Ognjen Kuzmic was not given an offer by the Warriors and is currently a free agent.
Golden State Warriors Top Newcomers:
The biggest signings of the offseason for the Warriors were the re-signings of Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes. However, three other additions were made to fill the void left by those three departures. Ian Clark was signed as a free agent after a stint with the Denver Nuggets.
Jason Thompson, who has been considered a solid role player, will bring some height to the Warriors. Kevon Looney, who looked to be an absolute steal at pick 30 in the 2015 NBA Draft, is projected to be out for 4-6 months after suffering a torn labrum.
Golden State Warriors Betting Prediction: 62-20
The Golden State Warriors brought the Larry O’Brien Trophy back to The Bay Area for the first time since 1975 and they’re not done yet.
I rarely have faith in the possibility of a back-to-back champion, especially if they’re coming out of the ever-competitive Western Conference, but this Warriors team is leaving me no other option but to believe that they will run through the opposition en route to the Western Conference Finals, furthermore to the NBA Finals.
A divisional bet for the Warriors could be a safe one with their only real competition being the Los Angeles Clippers, whom the Warriors have some bad blood with. To believe that this re-equipped Warriors team will place any lower than the four seen in the Western Conference is absolutely crazy.
And that’s with the off chance that the injury bug finds it’s way into the home locker of the Oracle Arena.
The Golden State Warriors are offering no strong reason to believe that they won’t be returning to the NBA Finals this season for a chance to be named repeat champions.
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