Professional athletes will go to ridiculous lengths to find slights they can use as motivation.
Enter Draymond Green.
Last week gambling sight bovada.lv ranked the Warriors third in their odds to win the NBA title, behind the Cleveland Cavaliers and re-loaded San Antonio Spurs. Basically, the odds makers are saying the Warriors are title contenders — but Green sees an insult there, as reported on CSNBayArea.com.
“Everybody already said we’re not the favorite — we can’t do this, we can’t do that — so there will definitely be a chip (on the shoulder) there for sure,” Green said on KNBR 680-AM Wednesday night. “We’re the defending champs and everybody is counting us out already after the moves the Spurs made.”
Counting you out? That’s rather a reach. Good luck finding a prognosticator that does not call the Warriors a title contender — including the gambling site he mentions, which has Golden State at 5-1 to win it all, ahead of the Thunder, Clippers, Rockets, and a host of other teams that think they have a shot.
I think the Warriors are serious title contenders, but I’m not going to pick them to win it all. I may not pick them to get out of the West. The road to a repeat is hard and they are not used to having this target on their back. That’s not an indictment of them so much as a realistic look at the West — any of the Warriors, Spurs, Clippers, Thunder, and Rockets could come out of the Western Conference and nobody would blink. Those five teams are all tightly bunched. (I’m not sold on Memphis being on that tier.)
Which means the margin of error for contenders in the West is miniscule. Which means luck is going to be a bigger factor than normal. Last season the Warriors were lucky in terms of staying healthy while the teams around them collapsed. They were fortunate based on the final day of the regular season to avoid the Spurs and Clippers in the playoffs. That’s not to diminish the title the Warriors earned, but luck plays a role in any team winning it all.
Will the Warriors be that lucky again? Maybe. But the Spurs or Clippers or someone else may be as well. Then after the West beats itself up, they will likely face a fresher Cavaliers team in the Finals.
But if that is motivation for you Draymond, go for it. Whatever works for you.