I don't have statistics. I don't have GIFs or video clips to prove the prediction I'm going to make. I have a gut feeling, a homerish tinge in my tone, and a vanilla prediction for the historically great Golden State Warriors team that put the entire league through the ringer all season long.
Motivation, restlessness, injuries, boredom, and history have been the talk of the entire Warriors kingdom as they near what will be a fascinating trek towards their title defense. Much will be made of the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. But the point I'm burying and the one I truly believe remains that the Golden State Warriors' biggest worry if each team plays to the peak of their powers? No one.
When Stephen Curry is free-wheeling from the moment he steps across halfcourt, is able to swing to Draymond Green off a high transition pick, then to Andre Iguodala slashing to the hoop, with the final pass floating into Klay Thompson's outstretched, and unencumbered arms in the corner: these Golden State Warriors are truly unstoppable, and ferocious.
And what it really comes down to through all the nuance, all the little factors that can affect an entire series, is the notion that any team can defend the Warriors in the open or halfcourt to put a consistent clamp on this attack. It doesn't appear that Tony Parker and LaMarcus Aldridge can stick to the Spurs' shutdown wing plan, the Clippers deep or disciplined enough to care, the Rockets and Cavs talented enough to get there, and the Grizzlies quick enough to repeat what happened for two games last postseason.
What stands between Stephen Curry's legacy as the greatest Warrior of all time, a budding dynasty, and another offseason of partying, trash-talking and celebration is a brand-new villain of sorts. Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder represent an offense unstoppable when his shot is at near-volcanic levels. I am repeatedly hit with flashbacks of the 2012 Thunder overwhelming the Spurs seemingly at the flip of a switch, winning 4 games in a row behind a swarm of athleticism and the purely efficient scoring of Durant and Russell Westbrook. The destruction of the perfect system like the San Antonio Spurs, could befall one like the Golden State Warriors.
It's just that Stephen Curry is somehow playing better than he ever has, Draymond Green built for postseason woes, Klay Thompson growing into his own as a supplemental star, and an entire legion of role players built on the type of high-IQ basketball that preserves and pushes greatness. There's wasn't a single devastating flaw on these Warriors last season, there isn't one this season, and the devastation raining upon the league once again will push this historically great team into the next level of the history books.
60 wins, 2 seed
Golden State Warriors over 1 seed Oklahoma City Thunder in the WCF
Golden State Warriors over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals