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News  


What can stop the Warriors from winning a 3-peat?


PhilBoxing.com




“Hurricanes, tornadoes, snow storms, man-made… something man-made, Chernobyl.”

Those were some of the ways, NBA analyst Charles Barkley said, as told to Dime Magazine, the Golden State Warriors can be stopped in their bid fir a three-peat in the just-started 2K19 season.

For R.R. Martin, in a deeper analysis he wrote for yardbarker.com, reasons are aplenty why the Dubs should win their third straight and fourth in five years.

The Warriors, Martin wrote, are like Mike Tyson at the end of his "Punch-Out!." Armed with the greatest roster in NBA history, Golden State has the ability to turn double-digit halftime deficits against historically good teams into blowout victories — just ask Houston.

The Warriors have the firepower to beat the game’s best player performing at his absolute apex as well — just ask LeBron James. They are, quite simply, unbeatable when they bring their "A" game… and that was before they even signed DeMarcus Cousins this summer.

The writer began with the talent discrepancy. The Warriors have five guys who were All-Stars last season. No team in NBA history has ever been able to say that. Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry are the second-and-third-best players in the NBA. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are each top-20 players. Cousins is probably a top-10 player when healthy, but as he is coming off an Achilles tear, make him a top-50. That’s their starting five come playoff time. Off the bench, they have the ultimate Swiss Army Knife in Andre Iguodala and a point guard in a small forward’s body in Shaun Livingston. Talent tends to win out in the playoffs, and the Warriors’ top seven top every other team’s top seven by a substantial margin.

On offense, they have one of the most lethal pick-and-roll combinations ever with Curry and Durant, who have shown, time and again, they’re impossible to stop, the more you think about it. Hedge too hard or not hard enough, and one of the two gets an open shot.

Play perfect defense on the pick-and-roll, and Curry or Durant will still end up with an isolation, which is one of the most efficient plays as it is. If a defender doesn’t have his head on a swivel on the help side, Klay Thompson needs about an inch of space and a millisecond of time to kill you with a three-pointer.

On defense, they have a modern-day Dennis Rodman in Green. Considered by many to be a defensive genius, Green can guard any player in the league on a switch, whether it’s James Harden or Joel Embiid. With his 7-foot-4 wingspan, strong hands and excellent use of verticality, he is as effective of a defensive anchor as Rudy Gobert.

Green is flanked by three other high level defenders in Durant, Thompson and Iguodala, who all can switch any screen, defend on isolations and in the post. Durant can protect the rim with the best of them. Even Curry has improved to the point where he is a serviceable defender and an opportunistic thief. Many don’t realize this though, the Warriors’ defense is more important to their success than their incredible offense.

The Warriors back up their all-time great team hype with numbers too. In the playoffs, they were the best offensive and defensive team by a wide margin. In fact, they were about as dominant as it gets, finishing the playoffs with a whopping +10.3 net rating (much better than the Rockets’ league leading +8.4 rating in the regular season). The Mike Tyson knockout punches came during their fabled third quarters, when that net rating jumped to +29.9!

Meaning that per 100 possessions in the third quarter, the Warriors would outscore their opponents by 30 points. For some context, the 1996 Bulls, who had the best single-season net rating ever, were at +13.4. When the Warriors get to fifth gear, nobody had a chance.

Everything mentioned above, of course, was before they signed Cousins, which brings GSW to its first potential shortcoming: team chemistry. No matter how great of a guy he is off the court (which he apparently is), no matter how many times he tells the media he is all about winning, until Boogie Cousins shows he can be a good teammate instead of a malcontent, it’s tough to believe him.

Well, if he’s bad for chemistry, you can just cut him. That’s true, but Cousins likely won’t be back until January. The first couple of months will likely be copacetic as he gets into basketball shape. What happens if the team faces some adversity in the playoffs like it did in the Western Conference Finals last year?

What if coach Steve Kerr chooses to play Iguodala over Cousins in tight games? Can they rely on him to still be a difference-maker if he’s only getting JaVale McGee’s old minutes, or does he become an unwanted distraction at an inopportune time?

Then there are still two giant elephants in the room with Durant and Thompson’s impending free agencies. While Thompson has said all the right things about wanting to remain with the Warriors, the reported Durant-to-the-Knicks rumor persists have even escalated as of late with insiders like The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson openly talking about Durant leaving and comparing the mood to that of the Cavaliers’ with LeBron James last season.

Durant seemed detached from the team at various points last season but re-engage when his team needed it the most. Short of a major injury to Golden State's top-four players or a chemistry catastrophe, an estranged Durant is about all that could stop this juggernaut.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.


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