The NBC/ProBasketballTalk season previews will ask the questions each of the 30 NBA teams must answer to make their season a success. We are looking at one team a day until the start of the season, and it begins with a look back at the team’s offseason moves.
Last Season: 67-15, beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2017 NBA Finals.
I know what you did last summer: Partied, mostly. Klay Thompson went to China and had to sign a bunch of toasters. Signed Nick Young, JaVale McGee, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Zaza Pachulia. Acquired Jordan Bell in a draft day trade.
THREE QUESTIONS THE WARRIORS MUST ANSWER:
1) How will an aging bench affect their playoff run? It’s easy to point to Durrant as a huge catalyst to why the Warriors will still be great next season. This team is now chocked full of stars who took less money to remain together and beat up on the rest of the league.
But that is always been the case for the Golden State bench with guys like Andre dollar and David West. There are several rotation players for the Warriors who are age 32 or older. That includes Shaun Livingston, Pauchulia, West, and Iguodala.
Gone are Ian Clark and James Michael McAdoo. A big question not only for their regular season win total but the playoffs for Golden State will be how well their rotation guys hold up. Some of this could be offset by Bell if he remains a regular roster player, but it will be something to watch.
2) Do they still have the edge over Cleveland? It’s hard to say that the Cavaliers will have a better chance against the Warriors in a Finals rematch without Kyrie Irving. However, it was apparent last season that what Cleveland suffered from most when facing the Golden State onslaught was depth. The trade with the Boston Celtics certainly helped LeBron James and company shore up that aspect of the roster. Guys like Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas will see to that.
Cleveland is also supposed to be moving in a new direction on offense with Kevin Love playing center. That will allow LeBron to play the wing position much the way he did in Miami, which had a much more fluid system. That could cause real problems for the Warriors on defense, or at least more than the Cavaliers produced last season for them come playoff time.
The Warriors still have the better roster and the better system, but when examining potential weak spots against the champs you have to look at every angle for their most fierce competitors.
3) How tough can they be against a strengthened Western Conference? Warriors still have the best roster in the Western Conference and it’s not close. Even as a huge cache of stars have gone from east to west, and others have joined forces like in Houston, the Golden State squad still remains tops in terms of firepower.
But there is some concern about whether the strengthened Western Conference will simply reduce win totals for the Warriors or create a real issues come playoff time. We have seen a trend with the Warriors in resting players and easing off the gas — we certainly saw the latter a bit last season after a record-setting campaign in 2015-16. Might the Warriors decide to take it easy and coast into the playoffs (relatively speaking) much like the Cavaliers did a year ago? It could help them save some of their old her legs on the squad, and prepare them for teams like the Rockets and Spurs in the postseason.