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Reacts: Warriors establish themselves as clear title favorites

With Klay Thompson’s back on the court, the Warriors may now be the heavy favorite for the NBA title this season.

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NBA: Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NBA. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged in Los Angeles Lakers fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts, and check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.

So much can change within an NBA season based on preseason expectations, even in a relatively short time. Four months ago, the Lakers were considered one of the favorites for the title while the Warriors were a team with questions about them, particularly when it came to injuries.

But fast forward to the middle of January and roles have completely reversed as the Warriors — after having Klay Thompson make his long-awaited return — are the favorites for the NBA title while the Lakers are well on the outside looking in. The latest SB Nations NBA Reacts survey reveals just how big of a favorite most consider Golden State to be.

Already one of the best teams in the league, the Warriors adding any version of Thompson to their lineup spells dangerous things for opponents in either conference moving forward. And for a Lakers team that not only has to battle them in the conference but has multiple games remaining against their divisional foe, it could make for some long nights in the future.

First-timers

A number of players look set to potentially make their first All-Star game this season, ranging from Ja Morant to LaMelo Ball and even a pair of Cavs in Jarrett Allen and Darius Garland. But which of them is most deserving?

To put into context just how good Morant has been, LeBron James has had one of the best stretches of his career to close out December and open January, but it’s been Morant who has taken home nearly all of the Player of the Week and Player of the Month awards for the Western Conference in that span, and rightfully so.

Morant has not only been good enough to warrant his first inclusion in the All-Star game, he’s making a compelling case to be a starter alongside Steph Curry. In the latest voting returns, Morant was third in votes for backcourt players in the conference, barely 100,000 votes behind Luka Doncic in second.

Similarly, LaMelo Ball was fifth in the Eastern Conference for backcourt players while Jarrett Allen is sixth in the frontcourt. All three players seem likely to make their All-Star Game debuts this season, a welcome sight for the future of the league.

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