THE SANTA CLARA
November 6, 2014
The Golden State Warriors are winning the Western Conference this year. That’s right, I said it. I know, the season’s barely started, but the Warriors have come out looking mighty impressive.
Stephen Curry is establishing himself as one of the greatest shooters ever and Klay Thompson is proving he’s worth every penny of that 4-year, $70-million extension.
With Curry and Thompson, the Warriors have the best backcourt in the game. At just 26, Curry is arguably the top point guard in the game. Thompson, at 24, is a lockdown defender who’s also lethal from the three-point line. Aside from the 2011-2012 season, when Curry was fighting injuries, both have improved their scoring each year.
Along with the feared “Splash Brothers,” the Dubs have a strong frontcourt consisting of a rotation of proven veterans in Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguodala and David Lee to go along with the youth of Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green. The additions of Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa should also improve an already deep bench.
Perhaps the biggest improvement the Warriors made this offseason was in their coach. I believe that Kerr can take the Warriors over the ceiling that Mark Jackson brought them to year after year.
Although the West has plenty of strong teams, the top of the conference is very much up for grabs. The Los Angeles Clippers didn’t make any major offseason moves this year, and Blake Griffin and Chris Paul seem to be more focused on making commercials then winning a championship.
The Oklahoma City Thunder lost their two best players — two of the most talented in the league — in Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant to very unlucky injuries.
Westbrook broke a bone in his right hand and Durant broke a bone in his right foot. The Thunder for the near future might as well be called the Rain.
The basketball gods certainly aren’t smiling down at them. By the time both Westbrook and Durant return, it’s unlikely that the Thunder will be able to climb their way back to the top of the very strong Western Conference.
It’s hard to come up with any flaws for the reigning champion San Antonio Spurs. Watching them cruise over the Miami Heat and LeBron James last year in the finals was an impressive feat.
But as Manu Ginóbili’s bald spot gets bigger and Tim Duncan grows more gray hairs, maybe they finally are getting old. Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green may not be ready to carry the team just yet.
With the Spurs, Thunder and Clippers all potentially declining this year, there’s no better team than the Warriors to take over the West.
Andrew Slap is a sophomore communication major.