Can anyone stop the Warriors? | Bonehead Picks

Can anyone stop the juggernaut Golden State Warriors?

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The 2017-18 NBA season is starting much earlier than previous NBA seasons. To avoid NBA players resting during the regular season, the NBA made some changes to eliminate back-to-back games that meant moving the NBA season’s start. This will be a very different NBA season beyond just the earlier start to the season as NBA jerseys will now feature small ads on the jerseys and the NBA All-Star game will have a new way of selecting teams between the top basketball players in the world. On the court, the incoming NBA Draft class of 2017 is the most promising NBA Draft class perhaps since the NBA Draft class of 2003 looks to make a rookie impact and NBA All-Stars like Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Gordon Hayward, and Jimmy Butler will be important pieces to their new teams after changing addresses in the offseason. Of course, the biggest question remains whether any team can pose a serious challenge to the Golden State Warriors, who have been the most impressive NBA franchise since the Michael Jordan-led NBA champion Chicago Bulls of the 1990s.

The Western Conference will be the most challenging yet for the Golden State Warriors since the beginning of their run during 2014-15 NBA season. The Houston Rockets have retooled multiple ways with the addition of future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul and the addition of wing players like P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute for additional defensive versatility while adding them to superstar James Harden, who appeared to wear down at the end of the playoffs last season. The San Antonio Spurs still have the terrific combination of MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard and legendary coach Greg Popovich and health will be a key component to their success. It will be fascinating to see whether last season’s MVP Russell Westbrook can blend the talents of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony on the Oklahoma City Thunder into a fearsome threat to Golden State. Two darkhorses to compete in the Western Conference are the Los Angeles Clippers and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are still core pieces of the Clippers and the young Timberwolves have added veterans like Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson beyond Jimmy Butler to assist the young talent on the team.

The Eastern Conference is still led by the Cleveland Cavaliers as long as LeBron James remains a superstar there. There will be significant adjustments with this season’s team after the blockbuster trade of All-Star guards of Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas. There is uncertainty about Thomas’ health on the Cavaliers and James will have to adjust to new teammates Jae Crowder, Derrick Rose, and former Heat teammate Dwyane Wade. The Boston Celtics have an enticing blend of young veteran talent like Irving and Gordon Hayward and promising prospects like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. As the Celtics get accustomed to their important new teammates, they can be a legitimate threat to the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.

It is important to remember what makes the Golden State Warriors a daunting challenge in the first place. Their blend of offensive wizardry and defensive length and versatility and having two superstars in Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry puts Golden State into historic territory. Durant is one more year comfortable in the Warriors’ system and most of the supporting cast around the many All-Star players on the Warriors has returned. Defeating the Golden State Warriors in the NBA playoffs will again be basketball’s equivalent to climbing Mount Everest.


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