With the ability of NBA teams to have more cap space and sign more upper-level talent to play on the same team, "super teams" have been created. The Warriors got lucky and drafted into Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Now that they have reached their primes, they have been able to add players like Kevin Durant and even Boogie Cousins in this last free agency period to add to their already stacked roster. (It's all fun and games, until you're left with a crummy bench, like they have.)
Before the Warriors were able to ad Kevin Durant, the Cavaliers were the only team who even came close to the idea of a "superteam." Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love were able to compete with the Warriors team of old because they had enough high-volume scoring to keep pace with the Warriors.
Adding in Kevin Durant changed the balance.
With Durant, the Warriors added even more high-volume along with more defensive switchability. He's a scoring machine and a nightmare defensive match-up, and it proved too much for the Cavs two years in a row. They couldn't keep up with the scoring nor the switches the Warriors continued to make.
So lets do a Warriors checklist:
- Maybe one of the greatest coaches of all-time in Steve Kerr
- At point guard, they have probably the greatest shooter of all time and 2x MVP with Stephen Curry
- Klay Thompson might be one of the streakiest shooters ever, but when he gets hot, he REALLY gets hot. (I mean for crying out loud the man dropped 38 during the third quarter)
- Kevin Durant is probably the greatest pure-scorer in the league (maybe second all-time behind Kobe Bryant) with a seven-foot frame and the shooting/athleticism of a point guard
- Draymond Green, who doesn't shoot well, but can pass well for a PF/C, and can play a little defense
- One of the most dynamic centers in the league in DeMarcus Cousins (he may not return to his previous form after coming back from his injury though)
Yeah, their team is pretty stacked.
I'm going to breakdown the major contenders and pick the team with the greatest opportunity to take the Warriors down.
The Houston Rockets are first up on the list since they really have been the closest to finally knocking the Warriors out of the playoffs. They have two top-ten players in James Harden and Chris Paul. This duo has proved to be one of the most lethal in the NBA with both being high-volume scorers, great passers, and are high IQ players. Clint Capela showed out in the playoffs, garnering talk of being the best center in the playoffs. The Rockets had the defensive switchability in their wings with Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, but both left in free agency... and their idea of a "replacement" was signing Carmelo Anthony. Some might argue that signing Anthony knocked them farther out of contention because he has become slow and iso-focused in his older age. Let me correct myself, Anthony has always been iso-focused and has refused to change his play style to adapt to the new NBA play style, and because of this has become somewhat obsolete. This makes them at least another year before they can become the team that topples the Warriors dynasty.
Some believe the Sixers are next up on the top of the NBA Kingdom. Ben Simmons is unrealistically great and Joel Embiid is emerging as the greatest center in today's NBA. The only issue is that duo is as far as their talent pool goes. They lack the outside scoring to compete with a team like the Warriors. You gotta remember, three is greater than two!
On paper, the Raptors have a great shot at reaching the Finals and toppling the Warriors once and for all. Eh, I'm not betting on it. They let Dewayne Casey go for reasons I don't understand. Just because the greatest player of all time knocks your team out of the playoffs every year, doesn't mean that you should fire the coach. Lebron James takes his game to a whole other level during the playoffs, so its just a matter of waiting till he leaves the conference or goes out of his prime (which seems to be never). Lebron left the East... right after they fired the current Coach of the Year. They did shed DeMar DeRozan and added Kawhi Leonard along with three-and-D specialist Danny Green. The real defining factor in all of this is will Kawhi Leonard return to his pre-injury form? If not, then they won't be any real threat to the Warriors. BUT, if Kawhi is Kawhi then they will be probably one of the most formidable defenses in the NBA. I don't think that they can put enough points on the board to keep pace with the Warriors. They need high-percentage shooters for them to be the top team in the land.
The team who will take down the Warriors will be the Boston Celtics. Brad Stevens might be the most underrated coach in the league, and yet he might be on the same level as Steve Kerr. Guard play? Check. Kyrie Irving doesn't need anyone else to create opportunities for him. He can get the the rim at will and can shoot the three-ball very well. At SG, Jaylen Brown is a lockdown-defender and can shoot at a high-ish clip. At the three, Gordon Hayward is a dynamic scorer and can pretty much do anything. If Stevens puts Jayson Tatum at the four, then they might have more offensive firepower than the Warriors. I know it sounds crazy, I really do. Tatum shot the three just as good as anyone in the league. He is underrated and should have had more support in the Rookie of the Year Award. He lead his team in the scoring in the playoffs and help lead the Celtics to the Conference Finals. He even managed to push Lebron James to a Game 7. He's an underrated animal on the offensive end. Another underrated member of this Celtics team is Al Horford. He has one of the highest IQ's in basketball and is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end. Not to mention he also can shoot the ball very well for a big man. For the Celtics, their 2-4's can swap to any other position, which equals the Warriors defensive switchability. Side note, the bench for the Celtics is more deep and better than that of the Warriors. The Celtics have the perfect blend of high-volume scoring, high IQ coaching, and defensive switchability that puts them in the perfect position to take down the Warriors.