Everything nowadays is all about the Warriors.
When talking about the NBA's best team, the Warriors always come up. When discussing the league's best players, a few Warriors players are always mentioned.
As the NBA's bigtime superteam, that's something a luxury the Dubs get to enjoy. Most people already have them winning it all next year, despite not playings a single regular season game. And as far as competition goes, the league would have you believe there's only a few with a chance.
No doubt, teams like OKC, Houston, Cleveland, and even San Antonio deserve to be most talked about. But they're not the only teams with a chance.
In this list of Dark-Horse Championship contenders, we stretch the lines of reality to list five very unlikely (but still possible) franchises that could go home with a Ring this June.
The Toronto Raptors are sorta like the Clippers of the East. They have a totally stacked roster that should be dangerous on paper, yet continuously fail to live up to expectations. It's gotten so bad for the Raptors, that nobody has really talked about them at all this summer, despite having one of the best rosters in the East.
With Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors have the stars they need to compete. If guys Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas, and Norman Powell continue to develop, things could turn around quickly for this desperate franchise.
Right when we were ready to give up on the Wizards last season, they started to finally play up to their potential. Nobody knows what helped flip the script last year, but it worked wonders for a team that was on the outside looking in on the playoff picture.
Coming into this season with that same fire, it wouldn't be wise to completely count the Wizards out. While it's true that Washington really didn't acquire anyone in the offseason, some of the players they do have are due to take huge steps in their game. Bradley Beal is on the cusp of stardom, Otto Porter Jr. is on the verge of showing his true worth, and Kelly Oubre Jr. is already starting to show some positive signs.
Los Angeles Clippers
Okay, this one is a bit of a stretch. The Clippers lost their Hall-of-Fame point guard, while not really signing another superstar to replace him. Add this on to the fact that their roster is almost completely new, and things don't appear to be looking to great for the Clips. After all, they had trouble finding success when Chris Paul was there, how can they find any when he's gone?
This season all hinges on one player, and one player only: Blake Griffin. Nobody has ever seen him play as the #1 guy before. If he plays like an MVP candidate for Los Angeles, the Clippers could be way better than people expect. Even still, the additions they got, while they don't completely replace CP, certainly equal a very talented roster.
Strangely enough, the hype train for the new look T-Wolves is pretty quiet. Despite getting Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Tak Gibson, and Jamal Crawford over the summer, nobody really gives them a chance to even win the West.
Most of the reason involves the Wolves' competitors, which, admittedly, look pretty scary. There's OKC, Houston, and even San Antonio. Most would give any of those teams a chance over the lowly Timberwolves.
And that's their mistake. Besides Golden State and Cleveland, is there a better starting five in the league than Minnesota? Thier stars are well-rounded, the team is well-coached, and the franchise is desperate for some success, after falling short every year since the days of KG.
The Boston Celtics are the outlier here.
Washington, Toronto, the Clippers? They're all considered long-shots for the title. And while the Celtics certainly aren't the favorites, they are probably(and quietly) amongst the Warriors' biggest threats.
Adding two All-Stars to an already top-seeded ball club usually means the team is ready to make a serious run. In the Celtics' case, history has usually been on their side. The only question for them rests in Gordon Hayward. With Kyrie Irving likely leading the team, Hayward has to find a comfortable and effective medium between sidekick and superstar. If he can master that, Boston will go a long way starting April.