Can any team take the Warriors crown?

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Can any team take the Warriors crown?

Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors are on top of the NBA world after winning their second championship.

Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors are on top of the NBA world after winning their second championship.

Illustration by Sophie Bacher

Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors are on top of the NBA world after winning their second championship.

Illustration by Sophie Bacher

Illustration by Sophie Bacher

Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors are on top of the NBA world after winning their second championship.

Aidan Trejo, Reporter

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The Golden State Warriors have won two of the last three NBA championships, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015 and 2017, and losing in 2016 in a series that came down to the last minutes of Game 7.

It seems inevitable that these two teams will meet again as 28 of the 30 NBA general managers voted on Oct. 18 that the Warriors will win the championship for a third time in four years. 

Even NBA analysis Stephen A Smith has picked the Warriors and Cavaliers to match up again. Although he has correctly predicted the previous six finals match-ups he has also infamously incorrectly predicted the last six NBA champions.

Even after the Cavaliers were involved in some offseason drama as starting point guard Kyrie Irving demanded a trade. This came after reports that he did not speak to his teammates in between playoff games or during the finals. 

He was traded to the rival Boston Celtics, who lost to the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics traded several starters, including point guard Isiah Thomas, as well as a first round acquired from the Brooklyn Nets, which is projected to be a top five pick in next year’s draft. 

Despite all this, the Celtics and the Cavaliers feel they won and both believe they will be playing in the 2018 NBA Finals. This is likely because the Celtics and Cavaliers both have the best odds to reach the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Celtics has matched up well against the Warriors in previous years, defeating Golden State in two of their last three match-ups, including twice in Oakland. The star power Boston brings with Irving matched with the Celtics’ depth coming off the bench could be an issue for the Warriors if these teams were to meet in the Finals in June.

Looking at the Western Conference, many teams improved greatly from last year. This includes the Houston Rockets, who have one of the best offenses in the league with NBA 3-point contest champion Ben Gordon coming off the bench. They also traded for point guard Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers. 

This improved the Rockets chances of making the Western Conference Finals. By adding Paul, this allows James Harden, the MVP runner-up for two years in a row, to finally have a player of his caliber to play with. If the Rockets catch fire in the playoffs, it could be quite a match up for the Warriors.

Oklahoma City Thunder has also made great improvements. Considering they had last year’s MVP Russell Westbrook, it was not hard convincing players such as Carmelo Anthony to come play for the team. By adding four-time all star Paul George it gives the Thunder three elite offensive options that can score at will at any spot on the court. Attempting to stop all of them may be problematic for the Warriors. 

A team that had one of the most disappointing seasons last year was the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have a player by the name of Karl Anthony-Towns who many believe is the best player under the age of 21.

 After missing the playoffs for the 14th straight season, management traded for Bulls star shooting guard Jimmy Butler, who led the Bulls to the playoffs last year. The Bulls traded Butler for for starting point guard Zach Lavine, Kris Dunn and the seventh pick in last years draft. 

Pairing Butler with star young players that many have claimed to be the future of the NBA, such as Andrew Wiggins and Anthony-Towns, could be enough to help the Timberwolves break their playoff drought.

 Minnesota could especially be a threat to the Warriors not only this year but in many years to come with because the Warriros don’t have a single player to stop Anthony-Towns on the offensive side of the ball.  But it’s unlikely Minnesota will make it past the second round  this season. 

After breaking down these teams, the Rockets pose the biggest threat to the Warriors with their deadly 3-point shooting ability. But a team always to watch out for is the San Antonio Spurs, who have the best coaching staff in the league. 

Gregg Popovich always seems to get a team with little talent as last year’s Spurs, with exception to Kawhi Leonard, to the Western Conference Finals. 

And if not for Leonard exiting the series halfway through the first game,  the Warriors could have had a longer series than expected.

Enjoy the season.