For the third straight season, the Golden State Warriors are in the NBA Finals. The Warriors could become the latest dynasty in a league full of historical dynasties. Remember the Boston Celtics with Bill Russell? How about the Los Angeles Lakers with Wilt Chamberlain?
Then, Boston and L.A. ruled in the 1980’s before Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls ruled in the 1990’s. L.A. with Kobe and Shaq came back in the early 2000’s. Here we are with the fantastic Golden State Warriors.
In the 2016 NBA Finals, the Warriors lost to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Could the Splash Brothers and Kevin Durant make amends in 2017? I dig deep into this on my Golden State Warriors NBA Finals preview!
Golden State Warriors NBA Finals Preview
Golden State Warriors Offense
The Warriors’ offense is the best in the NBA. It averages an incredible 115.9 points per game. That ranks first in the league. Golden State also ranks first in the NBA in field goal percentage at 49.5%. When it comes to 3-point percentage, the Warriors rank third. Golden State hits 38.3% of their three-point shots.
Steph Curry leads the team in points per game at 25.3. On any given night, though, Kevin Durant can post you with 50. Durant shoots 53.7% from the field. So, can the other Splash Brother, Klay Thompson. Thompson dropped 60 against Indiana in a game this past December.
There’s no stopping Golden State from scoring. Unless you employ an incredible three-point defense, the Warriors are going to hit at least 38.3% of their threes. They’d hit a higher percentage of their three-point shots if they didn’t take so many of them.
The biggest issue with stopping Golden State’s offense is handling both Steph and KD. Durant can beat you in so many ways it gets ridiculous. He has length, which allows him to get over the top of you with his three-point shot. He also has mad hops, which means he can sky over you to the rim.
If you commit resources to stopping KD, Steph can drive to the hoop, bury the three, or pull up for the 15-foot jumper. The two-time reigning NBA MVP does it all. Stop Steph? Yeah, now you must deal with Klay Thompson. Thompson is a traditional set up shooter. But, he can also make his own shot while driving and either shooting or dishing the rock.
It’s your call, but any way you cut it, Golden State’s offense is going to score against your defense. The old saying implies, “You can’t stop them. You can only hope to contain them!”
Golden State Warriors Defense
You might think that because Golden State has the best offense in the NBA, their defense suffers. That’s usually the case, right? Not with Golden State. The Warriors are so great because not only do they have the best offense in the NBA, but they also have the best defense.
The Warriors rank eleventh in points allowed per game. They only allow 104.3. That’s not a lot because Golden State ranks first in field goal percentage allowed per game. Opponents average 43.5% per against the Warriors. From behind the arc, the Warriors allow 32.4%.
Steph Curry averages close to 2 steals per game. Steph, Thompson, Durant, the unbelievable Draymond Green, and Andre Igoudala can all play straight up man-to-man D.
Although the Warriors have the most fearsome offense in the NBA, they don’t score a ton of points the run and gun way. For teams like the Houston Rockets, it’s all about possessions. That’s not the Golden State Warriors’ game. The Warriors prefer to bury you on the offensive end of the court while placing dirt on their shovels on the defensive end of the court.
How do they do that? They do it by holding you to a low percentage when you’ve got the basketball. The Warriors force you into taking bad shots while trying to keep up with their torrid pace. It looks like an open shot. Oh, it isn’t!
Golden State comes at you on defense like a hockey team. The Warriors employ different lines just like the best teams in NHL. Dealing with all those different lines, with stud defensive players like Draymond Green and Andre Igoudala, leads to failure on when you’re on offense.
If you play fast, you’re toast. If you slow it down, your toast.
Golden State Warriors Intangible Players
Draymond Green might be the only intangible that the Warriors need to remain undefeated in the NBA Playoffs and win their second NBA Championship in the past 3 years. Green can do it all. He’s one of the best defenders in the NBA. He rebounds like mad.
He can also provide steals, offensive boards, and block shots. Green’s best asset is his attitude. Yes, he acquires technical more than Warrior fans might want him to. But, Green’s never say die attitude far outweighs the technicals.
Draymond might be the reason that the Warriors are the Warriors. His competitiveness and leadership skills can lead the Warriors out of the darkest, most dire situation, and into the light. He might be, I dare to write, Golden State’s most important player.
The other intangible is Andre Igoudala. Igoudala averages around 20 to 22 minutes a game. Expect Andre to play many more minutes in the NBA Finals. He’s one of the few players that can take on King James one on one. Stopping LeBron, like it is every time a team faces the Cavaliers, could trump anything else in the NBA Finals. If Andre doesn’t force LeBron into at least 4 bad games, the Cavaliers might have a shot.
Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson won’t be able to do it on their own. Green must bring that competitive fire while Igoudala must find a way to slow down LeBron.
Golden State Warriors NBA Playoffs So Far…
Steve Kerr, Golden State’s head coach, has been out since the Warriors’ third game of the playoffs due to complications from back surgery. The Warriors haven’t missed a beat.
Golden State is undefeated in the 2017 NBA Playoffs. They swept the Portland Trailblazers. They swept the Utah Jazz. They swept the San Antonio Spurs. They’ve gone 8-4 against the spread as the favorite in every game during the post-season.
Steph, KD, Kyle, Draymond, and Andre have done all of this while their coach has been out with a bad back. Mike Brown, who used to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers, has done a fantastic job getting all the great players on the Warriors to be cohesive.
All Brown does is flip the switch and let his stars go. Oh, yes, the issue with KD playing with Steph? Yeah, not an issue at all. Both know when to feed the hot hand. If Durant is hot that night, Steph feeds the beast. If Steph is hot that night, KD feeds Steph’s beast. The two are like peanut butter and jelly.
Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers Prediction
This is more of a teaser than my actual prediction. I predict the winner of the NBA Finals in my article about the Cleveland Cavaliers. I will say that beating Golden State this season can only be done if you play perfectly.
The Warriors have two, three, four or five if you count Draymond and Igoudala, players that can take you to town with a huge game. Draymond does so many things well while Igoudala is one of the better defenders in the NBA.
Because Draymond and Andre are so important to the Warriors NBA Finals chances, this might be the one series where no matter what the Splash Brothers or Kevin Durant does, if Draymond and Igoudala don’t step it up, Golden Staet might have some trouble.
The only thing else I’m going to write is that it will take a huge, massive, effort for any team to win 4 of 7 games against the Golden State Warriors!
NBA Finals Prediction: Read my article about the Cleveland Cavaliers