When coming off an NBA Championship, or in this specific case back to back NBA Championship titles, teams tend to suffer setbacks like major roster movements, trades, releases or retirement. Most teams would not need to find and sign a notable free agent to get better to maintain their seemingly “dynasty status”, not this team. After losing to Cleveland in the 2016 NBA Finals, the Warriors added Kevin Durant and cemented themselves as one of the greatest basketball teams to ever lace up sneakers.
As a fan, you can’t help but think how this team could get any better. They were solid with the current roster they had, and that all changed on July 2nd. LeBron James’ decision to play with the LA Lakers was a foregone conclusion, but it still shook up the NBA. Fast forward, and the two-time reigning NBA Champion Golden State Warriors agreed to a deal with Demarcus Cousins, arguably the second biggest free agent on the market. This strategic move set off chaos not just in the NBA, but in the world of sports.
The Warriors now have arguably the most talented starting five in the history of the NBA, including the stellar Chicago Bulls team lead by the living legend himself, Michael Jordan. Cousins will not be active for some time, but that won’t stop the court terror Golden State will inflict on their opponents until his return.
Outside of signing Cousins, the Warriors had a relatively quiet offseason. David West retired a two-time champion, they drafted a crafty point guard out of Cincinnati Jacob Evans, resigned Kevon Looney and Patrick McCaw, signed Jonas Jerebko after his stint in Utah, signed Damion Lee to a two-way contract, and most importantly resigned Kevin Durant. Resigning Durant opens the possibility of him receiving a max contract with the Warriors.
Kevon Looney and Patrick McCaw were important pieces to both championship runs, with McCaw being more instrumental in the first of the repeat titles and with Looney being a solid presence inside the paint against the Rockets in the Western Conference Finals. At 6’10, Jerebko adds length and valuable shooting to the Warriors, averaging a stellar 46% last season shooting from the field and 41% from three-point range. He is not a deadeye shooter like three of his bigger counterparts, but fans and teams should expect him to contribute valuable minutes and baskets when needed considering their ball movement centered offense.
As far as predictions go for this team, no one in that locker room is thinking “Let’s go 74-8”, but rather how to win another championship. Expect the Warriors to have a record of at least 64-18, with an unprecedented drubbing of the Western Conference during the playoffs. I project they will face the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, where the Warriors win at Oracle in seven games in an all-time classic series, with Stephen Curry finally winning his elusive Finals MVP.