The Golden State Warriors may be the only team that made the wrong side of history; then a month later changed their entire landscape with a single signing. The Warriors finished the 2015 season with 73 wins, fought back for a 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference Finals then let a 3-1 lead evaporate in the NBA finals. As I stated, it was a history-making season for them all the way round. Exceptions were already high as they watched the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrate but they went through the roof once Kevin Durant’s signature dried on the new contract. Now, what?
Durant coming to Golden State was the move of the offseason but don’t expect another 73 wins. For all the praise the Warriors received for their moves the fans are left to cheer for a much different roster than the last two seasons. The Warriors for all their offensive explosions were pretty good on the defensive end as well. Their numbers were slightly higher due to their offensive output but when your playing fast tempo games inflated defensive number are sure to come. The difference between 2015 and 2016, lies within the post. Gone is Andrew Bogut, as he was the defensive ace of the team. He may not provide many points and many minutes, but he controlled the lane. The Warriors replaced him with defensively challenged ZaZa Pachulia, which might hurt them come playoff time.
[link_box id=”60383″ layout=”link-box-full” alignment=”none”]
The shooters are still locked and ready to go, with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and now Durant added to the Splash Brothers. How can we forget Mr. Triple-Double, Draymond Green and the starting five has Western Conference All-Star starters are written all over it. The bench is still role player heavy with Andre Iguodala, Shawn Livingston, and David West. But how much will the loss of Marreese Speights and Festus Ezeli hurt the inside play?
While the Warriors can easily score 110 on you, they have comprised themselves a bit on the defensive side of the ball. They were the #1 rebounding team last season, and for that to happen again, Pachuila must curve his appetite to score and do the dirty work Bogut, Festus Ezeli, and Speights use to do.
The season does not hang on the shoulders of Durant, but it doesn’t hurt that they have him either. The Cavs were able to come back in the Finals once Bogut went down with an injury and Ezeli was not able to handle the defensive duties given him. While they got better offensively, they took a step back defensively, and that may be a problem.