As a site, we ranked all the NBA teams from worst to best for our release of season previews. Day thirty’s release of a season preview, and the team we think will start the year off with the number one ranking ends up being the current NBA champions, Golden State Warriors. I will provide a recap of their past season, an offseason recap, and then finally the season preview all of us fans are eager for.
Golden State Warriors:
Last season’s record: 67-15
Playoff Status: Won the NBA Championship 4-2 over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
What a year by the Golden State Warriors. The previous two seasons this team was the hopeful cinderella team we hoped would win in the Western Conference. Well those seasons are gone now, the Warriors, led by first year head coach Steve Kerr had the best record in the NBA this past season, and had the number one overall seed for the playoffs. No team looked able to stop the strength of Golden State, except perhaps San Antonio, and they were eliminated by the Los Angeles Clippers. In the playoffs, Golden State cruised by the Pelicans, danced with the Grizzlies, and then annihilated the Rockets, leading to a championship appearance. During this playoff run, Golden State also received another honor. Stephen Curry was named the 2015 NBA MVP. Curry was a dominant force this past season, and his style of play should keep him in contention for this award for the considerable future. In the championship, Golden State faced up against the LeBron James led Cleveland Cavaliers. Without their two co-stars in Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, Cleveland ran out of gas against the well-rounded Warriors team after six games. Golden State were shown they were not perfect in this series and would need to work on some minor things in the offseason. In the end, the 2014-2015 season was a huge success for the Warriors, and this championship will not be the end for the Warriors, as they look to be contenders for the foreseeable future.
Having the best record in basketball does not give you any perks going into the draft, as Golden State had the last pick in the first round. With this opportunity, Golden State watched everyone acquire their talent for the future, and just sat back an waited for someone to fall to them. With the 30th pick overall, Golden State selected Kevon Looney, a combo forward out of UCLA. Before the start of the college basketball season, Looney was looked at as a lottery selection, but his underwhelming play caused him to slip, and many predicted he would fall in the 16-24 range, but on draft night his slide continued all the way to pick 30. Looney needs quite a bit of development, and with the Warriors already having a well-built team, Looney will be able to develop at his own pace, and in a couple season’s be able to be a key contributor. Let us not forget he is most often compared to as a poor man’s Kevin Durant, so the potential is there. Looney was the only selection for Golden State, and based off his development, Golden State could be big winners of this draft in a few years.
Heading into the offseason, Golden State had two goals. The first was to resign Draymond Green. Golden State was able to sign Green to a five-year, $82 million extension. Many people question if Green is worth this type of money, since many argue he is just a system’s player, and does not have elite skills. However, Green is the heart of this team, and will give everything he has on both ends of the court, so these things make this contract justifiable. The second goal for Golden State was shedding the contract of David Lee. Lee was such a good team player as this season went on. Lee battled an early season injury, which allowed Green to flourish, and once healthy Lee could never regain his form. Once the playoffs started, Lee was a crucial piece, as he provided the needed spark off the bench. Even with this being said, the NBA is a business and Golden State could not afford Lee anymore so they sent him to the Boston Celtics, were he could be used more, and helped Golden State with their salary problems. The biggest loss for Golden State might be from losing assistant coach, Alvin Gentry to the New Orleans Pelicans. Gentry was a great coach for this squad, and helped put them over the top, but hopefully the information he provided will be practiced without him there. The rest of the offseason was pretty quiet for Golden State, as they maintained their core, and depth, so the only thing to have to worry about is defending their crown.
In the 2015-2016 season, we should all expect the same from Golden State. We might not see 67 wins again, especially with the return of Kevin Durant and the new look San Antonio Spurs, but the Warriors should be in the 57-60 win total for this upcoming season. The starting five of Stephen Curry-Klay Thompson-Andre Iguodala-Draymond Green-Andrew Bogut will provide excellent scoring at all levels, as well as a top defensive unit. The splash brothers will do their thing of destroying opponent’s back courts, while Iguodala, Green, and Bogut oppose their toughness on the rest of the opponent’s starting units. The bench consists of a veteran bunch, lead by Shaun Livingston. Livingston provides a great backup guard, and being a tough nosed defender, who has all the abilities to start at any of the 1-3 positions. The rest of the bench consists of Harrison Barnes (who just turned down a $64 million contract extension), Leandro Barbosa, Brandon Rush, Kevon Looney, Marreese Speights, Jason Thompson, and Festus Ezeli. Barnes, Rush, Looney, and Barbosa can all stretch the floor with good accuracy, while Speights, Thompson, and Ezeli provide different interior skill sets, which Golden State can implement against whoever they are playing. With such a great starting five, and a deep, well-rounded bench, Golden State will be viewed as a favorite to win the title once again, as they look to defend their crown. Although it will not be an easy task repeating, especially with how tough the conference looks this year, Golden State has the best odds out of anyone to represent the Western Conference yet again.
By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17