This is the most excited i have been as a Warriors fan since the "we believe" season. A new (and improved) coach, new logos, and of course an addition of talented players such as Dorell Wright and David Lee. However, the Western Conference is incredibly difficult and it won't be easy breaking into the top 8. If the Warriors were in the Eastern Conference the question wouldn't be if the Warriors were going to make the playoffs, but what seed would they be.
Looking at how our team stacks up against other playoff contenders, i am pleasently surprised by how i believe the Warriors would do. Golden State has improved a great deal this off-season, while teams like the Hornets, Jazz, Suns, Grizzlies, and Rockets haven't.
So Lets take a look
Teams In The Playoffs
1. Los Angeles Lakers 64-18
2. Dallas Mavericks 60-22
3. Oklahoma City Thunder 57-25
4. San Antonio Spurs 52-30
I think its safe to assume these four teams will not only make the playoff, but finish ahead of the Warriors. So this leaves four spots for what i believe to be six contenders.
5. Portland Blazers
Team Leaders: Roy (21.5 PPG) Camby (11.5 RPG) Miller (5.4 APG)
Projected Record: 49-33
Brandon Roy is an elite NBA player, and heads a real talented team. I like LaMarcus Aldridge a lot, and do believe that Batum will step up in his first full season as the starter. However, if may all depend on the health of Greg Oden because Marcus Camby is getting up there in age and doesn't have the offensive skills that we saw Oden have at Ohio State. Even if Oden doesn't stay healthy, this is a playoff team in my mind.
Team Leaders: Anthony (28.2 PPG) Martin (9.4 RPG) Billups (5.6 APG)
Projected Record: 47-35
It all depends on whether or not Carmelo Anthony is on the team for the duration of the year. Without him this is not a playoff team. Say all you want about Anthony (Iverson II), but he is a good player.This team is real deep an i absolutely love what Ty Lawson can do for them. Additionally, it is always nice to have Kenyon Martin coming off the bench (if/when he get healthy). I am going to assume that Anthony is going to remain in a Nuggets uniform for the purposes of this thread. Therefore, they will make the playoffs
Team Leaders: Ellis (25.5 PPG) Lee (11.7 RPG) Curry (5.9 APG)
Projected Record: 45-37
This team could actually surpass Denver and Portland, however, their lack of depth could be an issue. They have the "big three" in Ellis, Curry and Lee. The three of them will lead the highest scoring offensive machine in the Western Conference. Additionally, this team has more of a defensive mindset to it. Wright brings them toughness and the ability to cover other teams 2s and 3s, something we were lacking from that position in the past. I am looking for Steph Curry to take that next step and become an elite player, i think it will happen this season. The Warriors, who have not had an All-Star in like forever, may have two this season in Curry and Lee.
8. Phoenix Suns
Team Leaders: Nash (16.5 PPG) Hill (5.5 RPG) Nash (11.0 APG)
Projected Record: 43-39
Where are the rebounds going to come from? How are they going to replace Staudamire? Is Nash officially over the hill? These are the questions some may have when i put the Suns into the 8th spot. But, lets be real for a second this spot could go to any of the following teams: Los Angeles Clippers, Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets, New Orleans Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies or even the Sacramento Kings. I Just think the Suns did a great job in replacing Staudamire with a combination of Josh Childress, Hakim Warrick, and Josh Childress, who all do different things for the team. Additionally, i am looking for J-Rich to step up and became the best scorer on the team.
1) Lakers Over 8) Suns 4-0
5) Blazers Over 4) Spurs 4-3
7) Warriors Over 2) Mavericks 4-2
3) Thunder Over 6) Nuggets 4-2
1. Lakers Over 5) Spurs 4-2
3. Thunder Over 7) Warriors 4-1
1. Lakers Over 3) Thunder 4-3
1. Miami Heat Over 1. Los Angeles Lakers 4-2
The Warriors still matchup real good against the Dallas Mavericks and i would love to see that series actually happen in the first round. I think that they could take it. Consequently, i am not too happy with the Thunder matchup as i see Durant schooling Warriors defenders. This is going to be a real exciting season for the new look Golden State Warriors franchise, and i think we not only make the playoffs but challenge for the 5th seed.