Why can’t Golden State repeat?
Did San Antonio add LaMarcus Aldridge? Yes. Should the Cavaliers and Thunder be healthier? Likely. Are the Clippers and Rockets deeper? Yes. But that doesn’t mean that the Warriors cannot hang out with Larry O’Brien again, it just means the mountain to climb is that much steeper. And a lot of prognosticators are picking those other teams.
Daymond Green doesn’t get that at all, as he told the USA Today.
“I’m definitely fired up,” he said. “Obviously people are going to say what they’re going to say. You know everyone says ‘Oh, such and such was hurt (with the Cavs in the Finals),’ or ‘this (guy) was hurt’ or ‘the Spurs got this person’ and ‘the Cavs got this.’ That’s all fine and dandy. At the end of the day, we’re still champions. I didn’t need anybody to think that we were a favorite coming into this season to win it again. It is what it is. I want to win it again anyways, and that’s enough motivation for me.
“People are still going to come at us like we’re the defending champs. There won’t be any nights off. There won’t be any easy nights. Everybody’s going to be up for us. That doesn’t change.”
When the Spurs won the year before, Gregg Popovich expressed concern that the problem was human nature — earn a title and players naturally take their foot off the gas pedal. Stephen Curry told me not to expect that from the Warriors.
“We’re all competitors, we’re all proud of what we did last season, but once you enter a new year, we’ll get our rings on opening night, and that’s the end of the celebrating of what happened and you look forward to the next journey, the next goal, which is to win another one,” Curry said.
“I’m hopefully going to lead that charge, and we have such a great core of guys that are young and hungry and want to relive that intoxicating feeling of winning a championship. You look at the history of the league, you understand how hard it is to win one, but the challenge of winning multiple is something that I’m happy to be gunning for now, that I’ve got one under my belt. But that’s the mission.”
Any rational prognosticator is going to have the Warriors in the mix — they just won 67 games then won title, if you don’t think they can win another you’re doing it wrong. But they also did catch a lot of breaks in terms of health last season, and it’s fair to wonder if Lady Luck will smile on them again. (Any team that wins a title catches a few breaks.)
Also, the West got deeper, and just because some people think the Spurs or Cavaliers — or Warriors or Rockets or Thunder or… — are going to win is not an insult. However, if you need that to motivate you, go for it.