What a wild summer for the Golden State Warriors. If you don’t know much about basketball, you would think the Warriors were the 2016 NBA Champions. But they were the winners in their own right. They were able to lure in the top free agent of the summer, Kevin Durant. Kevin Durant was on everyone’s mind this offseason. Multiple teams thought they had a chance, but, we all knew only a few could actually entice Durant into leaving Oklahoma City where he had Russell Westbrook as his teammate. The Golden State Warriors were a minute away from being back to back champions. They couldn’t win a game that almost everyone thought they would.
Without Durant, the Warriors were still going to be the favorites if not close favorites to win the championship this year. With Durant, it almost seems like a forgone conclusion. In many experts eyes, the season has become a waste. But, there are a few teams that might have something to say about that. With Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant on 1 team, I can’t expect many teams to even have a chance at beating them. If you thought last year was bad, this year will be even worse. They will have 20-30 point wins on a consistent basis. This team is built to win a championship, PERIOD. Winning over 70 games is not a priority for them. The Warriors will go through their ups and downs, but, it’s very clearly barring any injuries that we will see them in the NBA Finals.
The San Antonio Spurs are always steadily improving their team while sharing no headlines. They love to complete their business quietly while the rest of the league talks about their plans. This season will be the first time in 19 years that the Spurs don’t have the legendary Tim Duncan on their team. Tim Duncan retired this offseason, but, he didn’t leave the team with no help. The leader of the new team is Kawhi Leonard, who’s arguably a top 5 player in the NBA. He’s responsible for leading the Spurs this year. He will have a very good big man to help him out in LaMarcus Aldridge. The Spurs purposely recruited LaMarcus Alrdige for when Tim Duncan retires. LaMarcus has yet to show if he can produce in big games, but, a new year means another opportunity. With Kawhi and LaMarcus, the Spurs have a great 1-2 punch for years to come. They are the team that has the best chance of stopping the Warriors from going to the NBA Finals.
Key Roster Changes
The Warriors had to rearrange their team because of the arrival of Kevin Durant. Leonardo Barbosa went back to the Phoneix Suns, Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut went to the Dallas Mavericks, Festus to the Portland Trailblazers and Marreese Speights to the Los Angeles Clippers. They added Kevin Durant from the Oklahoma City Thunder,Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee from the Dallas Mavericks, and David West from the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs were able to retain the same team for the most part. They lost Boris Diaw who went to the Utah Jazz, Boban Marjanovic to the Detroit Pistons and David West to the Golden State Warriors. They were able to get Pau Gasol from the Chicago Bulls and David Lee from the Dallas Mavericks.
Projected Starting Lineups
Warriors Starting Lineup: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia
Spurs Starting Lineup: Tony Parker, Kyle Anderson, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol
The Spurs will be without Danny Green for 3 weeks. Not having Green will hurt the Spurs. The Spurs haven’t won a game at the Oracle in their last 3 tries. The average score was 114 pts for the Warriors and 96.6 pts for the Spurs. I can’t see the Spurs winning this game. They are facing an incredible team on the road, they have a key injury and history isn’t on their side. The Warriors have had enough of last year and want the new year to begin. Golden State is favored by 9. I like this game to be close early then Golden State separating from the 2nd quarter on.
Prediction: Golden State wins 110-99 at home