With Kevin Durant in Brooklyn, Andre Iguodala in Memphis (for now) and Klay Thompson sidelined until at least the NBA All-Star break, the Golden State Warriors are no longer considered the unanimous favorites to win the Western Conference this season, leaving the throne open for a team like the Los Angeles Lakers.
So pretend for a second that you’re retired, and you have your media hat on, go through a couple teams for me. The Lakers are really, really big, and (former Warriors guard) Quinn (Cook) could definitely help with the shooting. In terms of what kind of threat they pose, what do you see out of the Lakers?
I mean they’re tough. You start with LeBron and AD. Those are two guys who demand your attention every possession, and I think they showed (on Wednesday night) a little bit how they can work in tandem, putting pressure on that three or four spot, with either JaVale (McGee) or Dwight (Howard) leading up, and LeBron having two lob threats. And they’ve got some shooting around them, perimeter defense. They’re good. It’s going to take a lot to beat them. You can tell when a team truly believes that a team is good, but they still have to go out and prove it. They have that vibe over there, like they know that they’re talented but I think there’s an edge to them.
Curry also talked about James, who he saw in four of the Warriors’ last five NBA Finals appearances:
What about LeBron? You guys go all the way back to sharing the same hospital where you were born. I’m not going to bet against the guy who knows the Father Time factor, who knows AD is a free agent next summer, who wasn’t in the playoffs last year for the first time in forever. In terms of the kind of year we might see out of him, how do you see it?
I mean, I don’t know. It seems like he’s in a good space in terms of having gotten an extreme amount of rest for the first time in a very long time. The excitement of playing with a guy like AD, obviously – that gets anybody going. And like you said, he’s used to winning, and playing in June and whatever, so…
The postseason is far from a guarantee for Curry and the Warriors this season — let alone The Finals — but if Thompson comes back at full strength and Golden State is still in the hunt for a playoff spot, they could be the team nobody wants to see in the first round. Their depth isn’t what it used to be, but a core of Curry, D’Angelo Russell, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney is still really, really good.
Until then, the Lakers should fare as well against the Warriors in the regular as they have in the preseason.