Warriors Season Preview, Predictions: Curry, Durant to dominate league again

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Golden State Warriors Season Preview – The Golden State Warriors went 73-9 in the regular season last year to beat the old record set by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. With Kevin Durant added to the strong line-up, this super team looks to duplicate their dominating season and win the NBA title this time.

While the Warriors had a dominant regular season, they faltered in the 2016 NBA Playoffs, particularly in the NBA Finals against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. What made it worse for Golden State was that they had a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven championship series, and collapsed to lose the last three games.

The line-up last season was still good enough to return to the finals for a third straight year but the Warriors, which is admired for being one of the more innovative franchises in the league, did not stick with what worked but made major changes by adding superstar Durant in 2016 free agency.

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The biggest loss would be Bogut, who was one of the few players in the Warriors roster who is in the line-up for his defense and rim protection. He was injury-prone in his stint in Golden State but he was a valuable piece especially on the defensive end.

Golden State Warriors Depth Chart
Point Guards: Stephen Curry, Shaun Livingston
Shooting Guards: Klay Thompson, Patrick McCaw, A.J. English
Small Forwards: Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala
Power Forwards: Draymond Green, David West, James Michael McAdoo
Centers: Zaza Pachulia, Anderson Varejao, Damian Jones, JaVale McGee

Key Additions: Kevin Durant, David West, Zaza Pachulia.
Key Losses: Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes

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To replace Bogut, who went to the Dallas Mavericks like Barnes, the Warriors were able to convince veterans David West and Zaza Pachulia to take the veteran’s minimum salary. Both West and Pachulia does not have the shot blocking potential Bogut had but are very experienced players that can play both the forward and center positions.

Barnes had an inconsistent performance for the Warriors in the playoffs. With Durant replacing him and playing his minutes, Golden State now has the scariest starting five in the league with Curry, Thompson, Durant and Green starting alongside Pachulia.

The bench will be led by the same reliable players in Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala, both of whom will backup Curry and Thompson in the backcourt and wing positions.

Warriors’ Strengths/Weaknesses

Golden State’s offense will be hard to stop led by two-time MVP Curry and the shooting and range of Thompson and Durant. Green will be the versatile player that will set up his star teammates and also do some damage at times.

On offense, they have no clear weakness because chemistry and team play is what the Warriors are known for. Even with the arrival of Durant, no analysts have stated that chemistry is going to be a problem.

Defense is where the Warriors will struggle in the upcoming season. More teams will attack them down low with Pachulia, Varejao and West as the main centers.

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The Warriors will return to the NBA Finals for the third straight year and will be too strong for Lebron James and the Cavs in the championship series. Golden State will be able to rest their stars during the regular season and prioritize the long playoff run this time. They won’t beat the regular season record again but will have over 65 wins as the number one seed in the Western Conference.

Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons

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