2019 Playoff Preview: Golden State Warriors
The two time defending champions, Golden State Warriors, begin their quest for a three-peat on Saturday as they face off in the first round of the NBA playoffs against the Los Angeles Clippers. Its championship or bust for the Warriors, and this year the road to the chip is a lot harder. Let’s get into it.
This season started out differently for the Warriors as there was tension in the locker room early on. In early November, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant got into a heated argument during a game, which turned out to be a lot more serious than people imagined. Draymond even got suspended.
The season was in its very early stages, and they seemed to gotten past it, but it’s not out of reason to think that their chemistry is not as solid as it used to be. However, even with all this said, the Warriors still ended the season with the best record in the West at 57-25 and are still the favorites to win it all. And it’s mainly due to their biggest strength.
It seems obvious at this point, but the Warriors biggest strength is their three point shooting. The Warriors are third in the league in three point attempts and three point percentage. They are led by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who are not only the best two shooters on the team, but are also shooting over 40 percent for the season. Oh and they also got this player named Kevin Durant as well. He’s pretty good at shooting too.
If the big three have a decent shooting night consistently, you can wrap these playoffs up. Warriors are synonymous for their three point shooting and that will be the reason they go far. But they do have some weaknesses to fix.
The Warriors have quite a few weaknesses this season. You can go with bench depth, rebounding, size, etc., but their biggest weakness by far is turnovers. When the Warriors are clicking, it’s a thing of beauty and they can put up points in a hurry. However, it is when they are sloppy with the basketball that they give up leads and fall into huge deficits. The starting lineup averages 12.2 turnovers combined.
This is directed particularly towards Draymond Green. Aside from KD and Steph, he usually starts the fast break, and if he can keep the turnovers under control, the Warriors will have a great chance at winning it all.
The Warriors biggest X-factor is Demarcus Cousins. Cousins was acquired this past off-season by the Warriors and is seemingly an upgrade over the Warriors’ usual players at center, but he does have some issues as well.
Cousins is not as agile or as good defensively as the other centers in the conference with players like Clint Capela and Nikola Jokic coming up after the first round. Cousins have been a defensive liability since his return, and even though the Warriors are great defensively as a unit, there have been times where Cousins has been a glaring mismatch.
The Warriors do have Andrew Bogut and Jordan Bell, but with the star power Cousins have expect him to get a lot of minutes and his play will be a factor in how far the Warriors can go.
Players to Watch:
Andre Iguodala. Iguodala is known for stepping it up in the playoffs and this year he will be needed. With players like Montrezl Harrell and Danilo Gallinari in the first round and potential future opponents such as James Harden and Paul George, the Warriors are going to need to more perimeter defenders besides Klay Thompson.
The Warriors boasted throughout last season’s conference finals that if they had a healthy Iguodala the Rockets would’ve lost sooner. Well know they have the chance to prove that. Andre’s defense could be the key to their overall defense.
Estimated Playoff Run:
Barring injury, the Warriors should be in a great spot to win the title again. The road will be tougher and the NBA Finals should be a lot harder than it was last year. But when you have two of the NBA’s top ten players and another all-time shooter, the odds are always in your favor.
The Warriors begin the road to the NBA Finals on Saturday, and I predict that that road will end the way it has the past two seasons, with a championship.