The Golden State Warriors are my pick to win the 2016-2017 NBA championship this year. Simply because they have the most talented roster in the league on paper and maybe the greatest offensive team we've ever seen constructed onto a roster.
Watching the Warriors play so far into the new season they look up and down. The Big 4 in Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson still seem to be working on their chemistry on the offensive end. Golden State has the most talented roster in the league along with the best offensive team in the league.
However, talent won't be enough to win the championship this year. We all expect the Cleveland Cavaliers to come out of the Eastern Conference again.. Right now, the Cavs are still the team to beat and they look even better than last year.
Golden State Warriors might outmatch them offensively but they still have other things to fix. So, here are the 3 things the Warriors must improve upon in order to win the NBA Championship this year.
1. Improve defensively
Getting Kevin Durant in free agency was great for Golden State making them the most feared offensive team in the league. However, they took a hit defensive by losing their starting center last year Andrew Bogut.
The Warriors are only 6 games into the new season but 6 games are enough to clearly say they would not beat Cleveland in a 7-game series, don't believe me? Let me tell you how. Golden State can only beat you by outscoring you and they won't shut you down defensively.
Damian Lillard was on the record saying after their game saying "The Warriors defense is not the same". Look at the losses against the Spurs and Lakers. Golden State shot 15.6% (5-32) from the 3-point line against the Lakers and 21.2% (7-33) against the Spurs. Along with the bad shooting from distance, Golden State gave up over 100 points in both losses.
Now when you look at the 4 victories so far this season, Golden State still gave up at least 100 to the Suns, Pelicans, and Trail Blazers. Golden State Warriors come out victorious because they were able to make shots. When you look at their win against the Thunder they did look better defensively but they didn't shut down them. The Warriors offense just got hot and they were able to outscore Oklahoma City.
Their offense will be enough only on most nights but not in the playoffs. The Warriors will have to play better defense consistently if they want to knock of Lebron and Cleveland Cavaliers.
2. Trade or sign for a rim protector
Losing Andrew Bogut's rim protection has set Golden State's defense back. The word around the league is the Warriors defense can be exposed and they aren't the same defense team as last year. What is Golden State going to do when LeBron or Kyrie attack the paint all game? Cleveland will expose that suspect defense in a second.
Anderson Varajao and Zaza Pachulia are great defenders but as far as protecting that rim, they are not Bogut. If the Warriors can't find a rim protector, then the next option is to look at Javale McGee. When you look at McGee not only is he 7'0, he has length and athletic ability to help control the paint. Yeah, McGee doesn't have the highest basketball IQ and yeah he will do stuff that has you shaking your head.
However, looking at the Warriors roster Javale is the biggest body the Warriors need to stop the defense from being exposed in the paint.
3. Find a way to get Klay Thompson comfortable in the offense
Golden State may have Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant but they need Klay to shoot better. Remember, Klay is one of the better scorers in this league. In fact, Thompson can lead the team in scoring because of the spacing Kevin Durant provides and he can use that all day long.
Now, 6 games into the season Klay is averaging 15.8 points with 38.4% from the field while shooting a miserable 19.6% from the 3-point line.
Thompson will get out of his poor shooting slump no doubt. He's talent as a shooter and he is too great for his shooting struggles to last. Yet, Steve Kerr should still find ways to make Klay more comfortable within this offense.
Golden State offensive game will be fine leaning on Curry and Durant but they need Thompson's shooting if they want to outscore the great teams in the league like the Cavaliers and Spurs.
Don't get me wrong, Golden State still has the most talented roster in the NBA. They are capable of scoring 100 a night and outscoring any team in the league. The problem is if they end up facing the Cavaliers in the finals, the Warriors could have big issues.
They will certainly look better during the season, but after 6 games I see a few problems in their game.
However, if they want to beat Lebron's Cavaliers they must address their defensive and chemistry issues.