Season Preview: Western Conference Challengers- Golden State Warriors
After injuries plagued their quest for a third straight title, experts and fans alike appear to have called time on Golden State but despite the changes that have happened this season they are still a very formidable challenger in the West.
They lost KD, Andre Iguadala & Shaun Livingston this summer and that will no doubt have a big impact on the roster, but a move to a new arena will bring with it new hope and this roster still have the winning mentality that has seen them be so successful over the last five years.
Steph to show MVP credentials:
Steph Curry is still a Warrior and without KD and Klay Thompson (out until at least the all-star break) he will remind the league just how dominant he can be. Curry is the greatest shooter the league has ever seen and with big pressure on his shoulders he will return to the levels that saw him become the first undisputed league MVP. While he will need support from those around him, Curry is more than capable of dropping 30 a night and keeping this Warrior team afloat until Klay returns.
Can D'Lo kick on in San Francisco?
The Warriors got D'Angelo Russell in a sign and trade with the Nets that saw Kevin Durant go the other way, and if he can build on his breakthrough year in Brooklyn, he and Steph could prove a formidable back court duo. Russell still has a lot to learn but playing alongside Curry will allow him to improve every day. Most believed that Russell would be used as a trading chip but now it seems the Warriors are determined to have Russell lead the offence alongside Steph Curry. Still only a young player at 23, the Warriors will be in a great position if D'Lo continues to prove himself.
Defense could be the the killer for Golden State:
While they still have the likes of Curry, Green & Looney, all quality defenders in their own right they will be without the defensive qualities of Durant, Iguadala & Klay Thompson this season and that may lead to Golden State slipping down in the standings. They will have a small starting lineup and this will hurt them on the defensive end but if they can continue to out-score their opponents then it will probably go unnoticed.
The Warriors may not be the team they were but they are still a top side capable of beating anyone. While they will probably struggle to win 50 games in the West, they will certainly make the playoffs and nobody will want to face them.
Season Prediction: 49-33, 4th place in the West
The Warriors host the Clippers in their season opener live on Sky Sports @3:30am Friday morning