The SB Nation-NBA network has put together a massive, network-wide 2017-18 NBA season preview that was released just this morning.
The Golden State of Mind crew was asked for our input about the Golden State Warriors portion of the preview and you can see my responses as part of the official SBN preview. But when SBN asked for our feedback on the questions a few weeks ago, we also decided to turn the questions received into a roundtable that other people answered as well.
So check out our answers below, offer your answers in the comments, and then check out what SBN had to say about the other teams around the league in the rest of their preview.
What needs to happen for this to be an enjoyable season for Warriors fans?
Tom Bevilacqua: It probably goes without saying that, for Warriors fans, the season needs to end with the Larry O’Brien Trophy staying in the Bay Area for it to be an enjoyable one. That the Warriors have become a franchise that can say “anything less than a championship is a disappointment” is kind of amazing, but it also provides for a strict definition of what constitutes an enjoyable season.
But beyond that, I think what Warriors fans want to see is a season from Stephen Curry that’s closer to his two MVP seasons. He won’t ever get back to those heights (in some ways by design) and, sadly, I’m afraid that he’ll never be as respected as he should be. But to see Curry have a season that reminds everyone what a great player he is would make this season oh so sweet.
Duby: Well, I guess it depends on what type of fan you are. The safest answer is that it will be enjoyable no matter what. This is without a doubt one of the most talented rosters ever assembled in the history of the league, and it shouldn’t take much for most fans to enjoy what should be another epic season.
That said, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that a loud and vocal group almost needs the team to win it all again. I tend to disagree. While another Championship is certainly the goal, even if something goes wrong I plan to enjoy the hell out of this ride while it lasts.
Daniel Hardee: Warriors fans need need to bring another title to Oakland. The team is slated to add to the life-crushing traffic jams in San Francisco when they arrive in 2019-2020. A lot of fans are frustrated with another professional franchise leaving the hard knock city of Oakland. Closing out Oracle Arena with a three-peat and four championships out of the last five years would add some salve to the burning wound of the East Bay fan base.
What makes Warriors fans most excited about this year? What makes Warriors fans most nervous?
Charlie Stanton: Other than being excited about everything? Fans can be pumped about watching Steph Curry play basketball multiple times a week as it’s always a complete delight. As for nerves, we can all send positive energy towards Steve Kerr and hope he can overcome debilitating health issues for his own sake—no one deserves what he’s dealt with post-surgery.
Tom: When your team is in that “championship-or-bust” mode, it’s easy to identify what makes fans most nervous-- the prospect of not winning a championship, especially if it means one of our rivals end up winning (the Cavaliers, the Thunder, the Rockets). The prospect of Russell Westbrook or Chris Paul winning a title (and the schadenfreude that it came at the Warriors’ expense, which would be omnipresent) fills me with a great dread and I would hate to see that happen.
But what do Warriors fans have to be excited about? The cup runneth over. They’re bringing back a championship-winning squad. They’ve brought in some new, interesting players. Kevin Durant has a better understanding of the Warriors system. Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green now know how Durant fits in alongside them, having played that first season together, so they will be able to play together more cohesively. There’s a possibility that this team could be better and more fun than the one that won 67 games and a NBA title. That’s pretty exciting right there.
Duby: The most exciting aspect of this upcoming season for me is the chance to see this team establish itself as a dynasty. With all the big talk about being light years ahead, it was only one ring up until four months ago. Now that we have two in three years, I think we need to win it all again this year as a prerequisite for a truly earned dynasty label.
And injuries make me nervous. Looking at the talent around the league and the teams that have changed this offseason - we’ve gone from probably being able to survive the loss of one of the big four, to maybe being able to survive a key injury like that. It would be heartbreaking to see one of our guys go out like that, and it would make the path to another ring extremely difficult. That’s enough to keep me real nervous any time a Warrior goes down all season.
Daniel: The most exciting possibility? The last time the Dubs were champs, they were a shot away from repeating, but came up short. This year, they can right that wrong and go back to back. Historically, only seven franchises have gone back to back. We can make that 8. #8isGreat.
The most anxiety inducing possibility? Totally injuries. Curry and Durant both have histories of harrowing lower leg mishaps; every time they hit the floor hard Dub Nation holds their breath.
What’s the storyline that we should be paying more attention to as a national audience than we currently are?
Tom: I’m going to toe the company line on this one and say the development of Patrick McCaw and the potential of Jordan Bell. McCaw is already a valuable rotation player on a championship team after only one season and looks poised to continue this development while Bell is shaping up to be the steal of the 2017 draft. There could be a whole wave of young, homegrown talent waiting in the wings to step in when our more veteran players move to other teams or retire.
Duby: Sorry...I got nothin’ on this. The Warriors enjoy so much coverage these days that I really can’t find any gaps that are not talked about. Sure, I could pick one of our young guys to watch, like Patrick McCaw or Jordan Bell - but those guys get articles and discussions about them already so I’m not sure “more” attention is warranted.
Daniel: The Warriors could feasibly break their own regular season wins record of 73. Why? Rest and a powerful supporting cast. The NBA intentionally built more downtime into the season schedule. The NBA calendar starts earlier than before and spreads out the frequency of game nights so that there are less back to backs. In addition, the Dubs have more depth than a submarine (shout to Duby). With a bench full of players that could/did start on other teams, there will be no let up if the All-Star starters take extra rest. With the considerable amounts of usual Warriors blow outs sprinkled in, we could see this team breeze to 75 wins.
What or who will neutral fans enjoy when watching your team on League Pass?
Tom: Nick Young, playing within the Warriors culture, will be able to let the best parts of his swggy joie de vivre shine through while the more infuriating parts will be kept in check. Young, in a place that values joy and fun in a way that few teams in the NBA do, will be a breath of fresh air this season, a redemption narrative much like Javale McGee’s last season, that neutral fans will absolutely love.
Duby: Much like politics these days, I’m not sure that there are any truly neutral observers left. You either love the Warriors or you hate ‘em. But regardless: this is the most beautiful offensive team I’ve ever seen in my life and they play with a joyful energy that is just fun. We have an extremely talented roster that somehow manages to thrive playing in the sort of egalitarian offense that most stars avoid. You won’t often see a team click as well as this one, and it’s even more doubtful that that said team will be anywhere near as good as this Warriors squad. This is peak basketball of the modern era - so any fan should enjoy the display that they put on nightly.
Daniel: At some point one of the Warriors’ hardwood assassins is going to heat up. He’s going to start hitting high degree of difficulty shots ad nauseum. The Dubs bench will be going bananas. He’s probably going to a shatter a record. When that happens, NBA social media will explode and you’ll have to rush over to your NBA League Pass to try to catch up. If you come after the third quarter, you will be too late. The Dubs will be up 30 and that game’s “Warriors Wonder” will be having his knees iced for the last 12 minutes. Don’t be a fool and miss out! Watch the whole thing live! The NBA: It’s Faaaaantastic!
What is your prediction for the season?
Tom: I’m predicting a Warriors championship again this year, but in a bit of a surprise it will be over the… Washington Wizards in 5 games (cue Mike Breen saying “Celebration tonight in Oakland!” again because the Dubs clinch it at Oracle again) with Curry bringing home a Finals MVP to go with his two championships and two regular season MVPs.
Charlie: I think the Dubs win 70 games and beat the Cavaliers in the Finals. Kevin Durant wins Finals MVP again, but Curry wins the regular season MVP.
Daniel: Steph Curry demands a trade because he can’t “perfect his craft” alongside Kevin Durant. Oh wait ... nevermind ... our team isn’t selfish. I predict the Warriors win all 16 of their playoff games without a single loss.