Last night marked the start of the NBA season, as the defending champion Golden State Warriors were in action.
The Warriors won 67 games in the regular season along with an NBA title, yet no championship team in recent memory has received as much disrespect after winning a championship.
The biggest insult a championship team could receive is that they somehow got lucky in what they achieved. Receiving their championship rings on Tuesday had to feel extra sweet after a summer of having their accomplishments doubted by their peers.
Warriors point guard and reigning MVP Stephen Curry said it best when he sarcastically responded to his team’s detractors during the preseason.
“I apologize for us being healthy, I apologize for us playing who was in front of us,” Curry told reporters after a preseason practice. “I apologize for all the accolades we received as a team and individually. I’m very, truly sorry, and we’ll rectify that situation this year.”
Although those words were uttered in jest, the sentiment still remains. You cannot blame the Warriors for taking care of business on their own end. All season long they were told a team that relies heavily on the jump shot would crumble come the postseason. The postseason came; they hit their jumpshots. It is time to give them their props.
Surely, this season will mark some sort of revenge tour, especially in the Western Conference for many teams. The Spurs reloaded with the addition of LaMarcus Aldridge. The Oklahoma City Thunder have Kevin Durant back and the Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets hope to throw their name in the mix as contenders.
The Western Conference will be a blood bath once again this year as it is clearly the more stacked conference. However if a new team is to contend, the road for the finals will certainly go through Golden State.
The Warriors have virtually returned their entire team, with the exception of David Lee. The biggest difference this year is that they will not be able to sneak up on anybody. The Warriors are going to get everyone’s best shot this season for the entire year but I do not expect them to back away from the challenge.
The Warriors are my pick to repeat as champions, barring that they remain healthy, because they have the offensive and defensive ability to compete in any game. In their second year under Steve Kerr, I believe that their offense will be just as dynamic. Golden State led the league in both points per game and assists per game. If they continue to play their brand of unselfish basketball they will be tough to stop.
The biggest advantage that the Warriors will have this season is obviously Curry. The Warriors have the luxury of owning the best point guard in the league in a league that puts much emphasis on the point guard position.
Everyone already knows about Curry’s offensive ability but the impact he has on the defensive end is often overlooked. Curry is no longer being “hidden” on the defensive end by matching up with a lesser offensive threat. Instead he will take on the burden of defending the other teams point guard, which has impacted the team’s overall defensive scheme.
Although the road to a second straight title will not be easy, I expect the Warriors to be the last team standing once again this year.
Spencer Mayfield is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.