When most NBA rookies are asked on draft night what they want to achieve in the NBA the most popular answer is always “winning”. That’s what sports and actually life is all about; winning.
Winning is the driving force behind nearly all life on planet Earth and of course it is the main driving factor in the NBA. Players spend decades honing their skills off the court so that they can dominate and win on the court, because winning brings glory and glory feel pretty damn good.
To win in the NBA is an arduous task. Every NBA team is always planning and executing their method of winning titles, whether that be going for a rebuild to construct a team from the ground up, trading for a player a franchise thinks will be the difference maker or letting a roster mature and grow to realize its full potential.
The best team right now in the NBA is the Golden State Warriors. They’ve won 2 out of the last 3 titles and are the extreme favorite for another one this year. Over that 3 year time span, they’ve won 207 games and only lost 39. No other franchise in NBA history has won more games over a 3 year period and I’m pretty sure they’ll break the 4-year record as well.
Their roster is in the perfect position to dominate yet again and as this article title says, 70 wins is very likely indeed...and here’s why.
5. The ‘Leastern Conference’
When comparing the two conferences in the NBA some commentators have begun calling the Eastern Conference the ‘Leastern Conference’ and there’s very good reason. The teams in the East are just not as good as the teams in the West. The top team in the East last year (Boston Celtics) would’ve only come 4th in the West last year.
There is simply more talent in the West than in the East. Even this offseason there was a huge swing in talent from the fragile East to the already monstrous West. Paul George, Jimmy Butler and Paul Millsap were some of the big names that made the jump across the conferences and not much came the other way.
All this imbalance means that if the Warriors can get through the West Playoffs then it’s a cakewalk to the title. They dominated the Cavs 4-1 last year and at the moment it looks like no team would be able to put up a fight. Any game against the East should be a walk in the park for GSW and they should easily be winning the majority of their games against Eastern opponents without a second thought.
4. Draymond Green
One of the big reasons why successful teams fall is that their players lose the killer motivation needed to win at the highest level. Michael Jordan grew tired of basketball after winning his 3rd title, it’s a big reason why he retired for two years. The Miami Heat were terrible after winning their title in 2006. If your opponent wants it more than they are going to win, simple as.
Luckily for the Bay Area, the Warriors have one of the most motivated players in the entire league. Draymond Green’s intensity and desire to win are well known throughout the sports world. He still knows every player drafted above him and uses that to motivate himself to run faster, defend harder and out hustle everyone around him.
With him on the Warriors, there’s no way that they will lose focus this year as any slip will immediately be picked up by Draymond and they won’t hear the end of it.
3. Steph Curry
I don’t know if you know this, but Steph Curry is very good at basketball. He’s one of the top 5 players in the league and the greatest shooter the game has ever seen. He’s so good that just his mere presence of the floor raises the game of everyone around him.
NBA defenses have to guard Curry with the utmost care lest he hit 10 or more 3s in their face. This huge amount of attention that Curry demands means that his teammates have a lot more space to operate. Here are the True Shooting percentages of Steph’s teammates last year when he was on and off the floor. The differences are remarkable as the other Warriors find themselves with more space and easier shots thanks to the defense focusing so much on Curry.
Steph is 29 and right in the middle of his prime. He’ll have another MVP worthy season as he continues to stretch NBA defenses further than they’ve ever been before and because of that all of Curry’s Warriors will be much better than before.
The most important factor into deciding if a team will win games is the chemistry they have. You can stick any number of world-class players together on a court, but if they can’t play together then it’s just five individual parts to a dysfunctional machine.
You need to have a situation where ‘The Whole is Greater than the Sum of the Individual Parts’, where players work with and off each other utilizing their different skills for the sole purpose of winning. The 2004 LA Lakers had 4 Hall of Famers on their squad, but they lost to the Detroit Pistons in the Finals because the Pistons had team chemistry and the Lakers did not.
The Warriors have 4 All-Stars on their team and they are all in the basketball prime. They’ve had a whole year together AND they won the title which means they will all trust each other immensely. Greater trust between teammates means more chemistry which means more success.
The Warriors won 67 games last year with a new Kevin Durant in town, this year I reckon they’ll look at 70 again and really try and establish themselves as the greatest team of all time.
1. Kevin Durant
What Kevin Durant did last year to OKC and again via Twitter was utterly disgraceful. He was a snake and sold out his teammates, which for a league which prides itself on its camaraderie and ‘brotherhood’ was utterly shameful.
But he still is the greatest scorer we’ve ever seen and the 2nd best player in the world. When a superstar wins his first title, the next season he is usually even better. LeBron won 66 games and the MVP after his 1st title in 2012, MJ and his Bulls won 6 games more in the 1991/92 season. The player is unleashed as the pressure for them to win a title subsides and they can get back to concentrating on just basketball.
Durant has now got his first ring, but that won’t be nearly enough. He considers himself the best player in the league and now he want’s to go out and prove it. I expect Durant to have a serious shot at the MVP this season and he looks to put this rough offseason behind him and remind us all why every team in the league should fear him so much.