Golden State Warriors
2017-18 Record: 58-24, 2nd in the West
The Golden State Warriors deservedly won the NBA Championship last year after sweeping LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the Finals. It was the third time in 4 years that the Championship has belonged to the Warriors, but their latest triumph wasn’t without a few road bumps along the way. Injuries to just about all their star players at some point in the season and a 3-2 deficit in the Conference Finals to the Rockets looked like it may get the better of them, but they were able to regroup and tough it out, just like all championship organisations do.
The 2018-19 campaign brings about new challenges and new opportunities for the Warriors dynasty. Will they continue to dominate the league or will they finally fall off their pedestal? Only time will tell.
Great news for the Warriors and their fans is they’ve managed to keep their 4 perennial all-stars (Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green) for another year and come into the new season with a fairly similar looking roster to last season. Oh, and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re aware that another perennial all-star in DeMarcus Cousins has joined the team on a 1-year deal. Cousins’ Achilles injury is expected to keep him out for the first half of the season, but if he can come back healthy and find his touch.. look out.
Other notable roster movements include the acquisition of versatile forward Jonas Jerebko from the Celtics and the departures of Javale McGee (Lakers) and Zaza Pachulia (Pistons).
Offseason Arrivals: DeMarcus Cousins, Jonas Jerebko, Damion Lee (free agent), Jacob Evans (draft)
Offseason Departures: Javale McGee (Lakers), Zaza Pachulia (Pistons)
What to Expect?
The Warriors are going to be a dominant force again this season, there’s no doubt about that. All their stars coming back and the addition of Cousins at the Centre spot just spells disaster for the rest of the league.
Will they ever get back to the 70+ win season that they had in 2015-16? Probably not. They’re wiser now and know that the regular season success counts for absolutely nothing if you’re not holding up the Championship trophy at the end of the Finals.
In saying that though, the Warriors should still improve on the mediocre regular season they had in 2017-18. They suffered injuries to just about everyone on their roster at some stage and still managed to carve out a 58-win season, so any luck at all should have them improving on that and pushing for 60+.
Key Player: Kevin Durant
You could put a blanket over just about any of their starting 5, but we’re going to go with the back-to-back Finals MVP for the Warriors key player.
Durant continues to add bits and pieces to his game that now has him widely regarded as the second best player in the world. Last season he had a clear focus on becoming more engaged on the defensive end. This resulted in him averaging a career high 1.8 blocks per game, which was the 5th best in the entire league. It was a great season on the defensive side of the ball for someone who’s arguably offensive player we’ve ever seen.
What’s Durant going to bring to the table in 2018-19? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
Vegas 2018-19 Win Total
The Warriors line is probably the one that’s toughest to get a read on at the beginning of every season, purely because no one, even the Warriors themselves, know what they’re going to dish up in the regular season. The 65.5 line seems fair enough given the fact that they should improve a couple of wins from last year’s tally, but more likely than not won’t try for a 70-win season.
If you’re keen on a play then we would lean towards the Unders, but 65.5 seems like a coin toss to us.