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Warriors vs. Pelicans: GSoM staff series predictions

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SB Nation sent us a set of questions for their league-wide playoff previews that were published the other day and we had so many responses internally that I just decided to publish all of them.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

After months of waiting for the Golden State Warriors to prove their dominance when it counts, the big day is finally here!

We've been trying to cover every angle of this series over the last few days, so today it's time for us to put our reputations on the line and make some predictions.

SB Nation-NBA asked us a set of questions for their preview of the Warriors' series against the New Orleans Pelicans on the national site the other day and we had a few staff members interested in sharing answers so I'm posting all of the submissions I got now.

Our panel:

  • Andy Liu
  • Atma Brother ONE
  • Bram Kincheloe
  • Conrad Chow
  • Nate Parham
  • Sam Sorkin

Feel free to leave your answers in the comments below. The challenge: answer each question in 2-3 sentences.

1.  What do you think is your team's biggest advantage in this series?

Andy Liu: Versatility. The Golden State Warriors, I think, will go small when the Pelicans run with Ryan Anderson as their four to the Davis center lineups. They'll run those lineups off the court. And when Omer Asik enters, the Warriors can also run Andrew Bogut out there. They have the matchup in their favor in almost all circumstances and that helps. A lot.

Atma Brother ONE: Experience- Can you believe the Golden State Warriors are about to make their THIRD straight trip the NBA Playoffs? (The Dubs haven't done that since 2000-never.) However, this is the first time that funky bird and brow from New Orleans are in the playoffs.

Bram Kincheloe: Depth is our biggest advantage. All year, it has been one of our strongest assets. Not every team has the luxury of bringing Andre Iguodala and David Lee, two former All Stars, off their bench. And it's not just those two players. Leandro Barbosa has proven to be a important cog in the Warriors' wheel, as has the offseason addition of Shaun Livingston. No other team in the league is as deep and talented as the Warriors.

Conrad Chow: Versatility is the Warriors' biggest advantage. More specifically, Draymond Green's capability to guard all five positions, Andre Iguodala's skill as a point forward ball handler and Stephen Curry's ability to play off the ball are prime examples that make Golden State a special team.

Nate Parham: We gonna be championship?

Sam Sorkin: The Warriors' biggest advantage in this series is their depth defensively, especially on the wing. With many long, quick, athletic and talented wing defenders -- Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, Klay Thompson, Shaun Livingston, even Draymond Green -- the Warriors surround and suffocate opponents on the perimeter. Couple them with Andrew Bogut locking down the paint, and that's a damn tough code to crack.

2.  What do you think is your team's biggest disadvantage in this series?

AL: Perhaps running out the wrong players at the wrong time. If that happens combined with the spacing that the Pelicans cant throw out there with Ryan Anderson, Quincy Pondexter, and Eric Gordon, there will be issues. Steve Kerr will have to juggle Marreese Speights, Leandro Barbosa, Festus Ezeli, and even David Lee.

Atma: Looking Ahead. For the first time since the early 90's the Warriors are favored by hoops pundits to advance past the first round. With 67 wins and championship aspirations, it's easy to think about looming battles against the Trail Blazers/Grizzlies or Spurs/ Clippers/Rockets/Mavericks and lose focus on today.

BK: I would say inexperience is our biggest disadvantage. This team has never been to a conference finals, let alone the championship itself.

CC: As Bram pointed out, inexperience is the Warriors' weakness. This team consists of vets and young guys but none of them have had championship experience.

NP: They ain't that good, man jump-shooting teams never win championships.

SS: The Warriors' biggest disadvantage is their offense when Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson sit. Without Curry and Thompson, the best shooting backcourt in the NBA, the Warriors have few players who can legitimately create their own shot well. Also, Golden State has poor spacing without those two, and struggles to create offense, especially in the paint.

3.  Which player needs to step his game up most for your team to win?

AL: I don't think the Warriors will need Herculean efforts from anybody to overcome the New Orleans Pelicans. It will be interesting to see how Klay Thompson plays in his first postseason series as a star. There's more pressure than ever on his shoulders and the Warriors will need the Klay Thompson of the past few weeks, not the one of months previous.

Atma: Andrew Bogut- The Dubs' grizzled big man needs to make life difficult for Anthony Davis and the Pelicans swingmen near the rim. If Bogut can turn the Pelicans into a jump shooting team, it will be easier than winning a shooting contest in Warriors practice.

BK: Klay Thompson needs to prove that his All Star selection was not a one year thing. He has shown pure, absolute brilliance (37 point quarter, what??!) but at times he has slumped and been held to low-scoring stretches. If he can play at his peak for the entirety of the playoffs, Stephen Curry will have a true second banana running partner and the Warriors should go far.

CC: Draymond Green needs to step his game another notch for the Warriors. He has proven this year that he is more than an energy guy and he will get physical with matchups . His ability to make life difficult for the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, Anthony Davis, Tim Duncan and other star players will be key for the Warriors.

NP: I think the answer to this question in almost any matchup will be Klay Thompson. When Thompson isn't playing well, he can take himself out of the game mentally. If he's on, defending both him and Curry is almost impossible, which creates opportunities for others.

SSIf Draymond Green plays well on both ends, this series is over quickly. He has the potential to slow Anthony Davis down and stretch the floor on offense. Much has been made about Green as this season's probable Defensive Player of the Year, but the dude can get it done on both ends. If he's hitting threes along with playing stellar defense, watch out.

4.  What is your series prediction and why?

AL: Warriors in 5. I battled between four, five, and even six games but I think there's a good chance that the Warriors completely take away Anthony Davis. I think they do just enough the first two games to end this quickly and effectively.

Atma: Warriors in 5- I could see the Warriors running a scrimmage in New Orleans at least once.

BK: The Warriors are too deep, too talented, and too hungry to lose this series. They have the better coach, the better bench, the better superstar (sorry AD, it's not yet your time) and home court advantage. Warriors in five.

CC: Anthony Davis and the Pelicans may be able to steal a game in NOLA but the Warriors are just better in so many aspects. Warriors take the series in 5 games.

NP: I've seen very few people have the stomach to predict a sweep...and, really, I don't either. It would've been considerably easier to pick a sweep if I hadn't seen New Orleans hand the Warriors one of their 15 losses relatively recently. I'm going with the Warriors in 5.

SS: Warriors in four. Golden State has home-court -- where they went 39-2, the best home record in the league -- and crushed the Pelicans twice at Oracle. The Warriors have the likely MVP in Curry, the likely Defensive Player of the Year in Green, and are talented and well-coached. Too much for Anthony Davis to overcome.