The 2016-17 NBA regular season starts in less than 48 hours — the roster is all but set, the expectations have never been higher, and fans are ready to see this new-look team on the court for games that count.
Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors’ players have already properly set their own expectations - another Championship ring. They have made it clear that the season goals of wins records and streaks are not as important as the final result of the season, even if that means sitting some of the roster and getting rest for the stars to reduce playing time.
With that said - what would it take for the Warriors to break their own wins records from last season? If the Warriors don’t go 15-0, will fans start to think something is wrong? Today we will quickly take a look at the first 15 games of the season, and make some predictions on how the results might fall. Have the schedule makers done the Warriors any favors? Or will early season losses simply be a result of back-to-backs, matchups against good teams, or early resting?
Note: We are only looking at the first 15 rather than at the first 24 to set more reasonable expectations. If the Warriors get to 15-0 again, then we can dream about 24-0, which would be on Dec 10th in Memphis.
1. Tuesday Oct 25th - Spurs @ Warriors
The Warriors face their largest rivals in the West on opening night. Can they handle the Spurs this season like they did last year?
Why it will go right - The Warriors took care of business agains the Spurs in 2016, seemingly breaking the long-standing curse. Plus, you'll have to convince me that the Warriors lose any game at home this year, especially opening night where Durant might go for 40. I’m calling it a win.
Why it will go wrong - The Spurs are the Spurs, and looking past them at all is dangerous
2. Friday Oct 28th - Warriors @ Pelicans
After their opening night celebration, the Warriors head out on the road for a three-game trip. Anthony Davis should be healthy and back playing.
Why it will go right - The Pelicans have a no-name roster after Davis surrounded by rookies and journeymen as their team has been killed by injuries. The Warriors should win easily here
Why it will go wrong - Anthony Davis
3. Sunday Oct 30th - Warriors @ Suns
Golden State and Phoenix always play each other hard and score a lot of points. Last year the Warriors swept the season series, winning by an average of 14.5 pts.
Why it will go right - The Suns are too young, but do have some interesting pieces. They will be fun to watch, but the Warriors will have a rest day and should be up for the challenge.
Why it will go wrong - The young Suns don’t know any better, and sneak out a victory at home. The Warriors don’t get up for the challenge and let them stay in the game too long to sneak out the victory.
4. Tuesday Nov 1st - Warriors @ Blazers
The road trip ends in Portland, a return to the scene of the crime where Steph Curry returned in the playoffs and crushed the Blazers’ hope of an upset.
Why it will go right - Golden State circles games like this on the calendar. They know the stakes, and know Portland will be gunning. With a day’s rest, they will be ready.
Why it will go wrong - Dame and his deep team meet the challenge and play like the team that beat the Warriors by double-digits in the playoffs. Plus, they will be fully healthy and will feature new pieces (Evan Turner).
5. Thursday Nov 3rd - Thunder @ Warriors
If you aren’t excited for this matchup, then you are reading the wrong site.
Why it will go right - Durant goes for 50, the crowd is electric, and we see everything that fans have been waiting for since the 4th of July.
Why it will go wrong - Russell is possessed, our interior defense can’t stop the beast that is Steven Adams, and the Thunder spoil the fun.
6. Friday Nov 4th - Warriors @ Lakers
Did you realize the Warriors face the Lakers three times in the first two months?
Why it will go right - The Lakers are bad, and might already be developing a losing attitude to start the season by game six. The crowd should be in early season form, meaning so should the players. I see the Warriors taking this one in a laugher
Why it will go wrong - Kerr sits some starters on the back-to-back, and the Lakers stay in the game too long.
7. Monday Nov 7th - Pelicans @ Warriors
On three day’s rest. the Warriors come back home for two. If they are undefeated by now, we could see good things ahead.
Why it will go right - The Warriors simply might no lose a game at home this season, especially against the Pelicans.
Why it will go wrong - Anthony Davis
8. Wednesday Nov 9th - Dallas @ Warriors
Another great early-season matchup. The return of the Black Falcon and Bogut to the Bay. Standing ovations? Video packages?
Why it will go right - Dallas is not great, and though Carlisle is a great coach they lack a lot of talent in the rotation. The Warriors averaged 128 pts against when playing the Mavs in Oakland. This could be another blowout.
Why it will go wrong - Bogut’s interior defense and Dirk always cause problems. Plus Harrison could go off for 30... hey you never know!
9. Thursday Nov 10th - Warriors @ Nuggets
Games in Denver always worry me, especially on a back-to-back
Why it will go right - Denver is young, but they aren’t great on defense. The Warriors could beat them on a bad night simply by outscoring them.
Why it will go wrong - This is your first confirmed possible letdown game. Back-to-back, low altitude, coming off a fun win against old friends. Kerr could also be resting starters.
10. Sunday Nov 13th - Suns @ Warriors
Two full nights of rest, back at home in the Bay against a non-playoff opponent.
Why it will go right - The rested roster gets the Suns back in the bay after the short flight home. They should bring their A-game here.
Why it will go wrong - The Suns might start out the season hot, might be playing above their means. The rest could make the Warriors sloppy.
11. Wednesday Nov 16th - Warriors @ Raptors
Golden State heads to the great north. This was a great matchup last year, can the Warriors pull it out again?
Why it will go right - Big games, big performances.
Why it will go wrong - The Raptors are a good team, and they play well at home. This was a 50/50 game last year, and could go the way of Toronto this time.
12. Friday Nov 18th - Warriors @ Celtics
At least the Warriors will have a day’s rest, but then will head to Boston for the tough matchup.
Why it will go right - The Warriors are arguably better equipped to face Boston this year, with more scoring options to help the Curry load.
Why it will go wrong - Boston always plays Golden State hard, and last year it took a surreal Draymond performance to pull it out. Another 50/50 game.
13. Saturday Nov 19th - Warriors @ Bucks
Return to the scene of the crime, but this time on a tough road back-to-back.
Why it will go right - Do you think the Warriors forget the loss in Milwaukee from last year? Do you think they won’t have the “24-1” t-shirts handy to remind them?
Why it will go wrong - Same thing as last year - if the Dubs are tired, and the young Bucks play their A-Game (plus Monroe is a tough matchup for them), this could be another letdown game.
14. Monday Nov 21st - Warriors @ Pacers
If the team is still undefeated by now, look for this road trip to be the “make or break”. The trip ends up in Indiana against a new-look healthy Pacers team.
Why it will go right - The Warriors have always given the Pacers trouble, turning up the pace to counter Indiana’s deliberate style.
Why it will go wrong - New coach in Indiana, new talent (Thad Young, Jeff Teague) and the same old core in Paul George and Monta Ellis. This will be an Eastern Playoff team and will challenge the Warriors as one.
15. Wednesday November 23rd - Lakers @ Warriors
The Warriors come home and are treated to Luke Walton’s return to Oakland.
Why it will go right - The Lakers can’t stop the Warriors.
Why it will go wrong - The Warriors could be exhausted from the road trip, and if you let the Lakers stay in it long enough, they could surprise you.
Can they do it again?
Last year’s 15-0 start to the season included 8 home games, including Brooklyn. It included two matchups against the Pelicans, a 50-point beating of the Grizzlies at home, and no east coast games. They only played one overtime game (the Nets at home, which they should have lost on the Brook Lopez tip-in), and pretty well handled the rest of their opponents.
This year, the Warriors will face better competition, larger marquee matchups against the Spurs and Thunder, a very difficult road trip that will take them through Canada and out East. If the Warriors do not start the season 15-0 - which in all honesty I think they will not - it will not be because of lesser talent, or a sign of things to come. It will be more of a reminder of how lucky and rare last year’s accomplishments were, and a sign of a team who sees the larger picture, that you don’t need to win every game on their way to the trophy at the end of the season.
Now - are you excited yet?!