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Warriors’ 2016-17 regular season: Bold predictions recap

At the start of the season I made seven bold predictions — too bold, I’d say.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Before the 2016-17 regular season began, I made several bold predictions about the Golden State Warriors. Let’s see how I did!

1. The Warriors will win 62 or fewer games

Swing and a miss. The Warriors finished with a 67-15 record — identical to their championship 2014-15 season.

My reasoning for 62 or fewer stemmed from three theories: (1) the Warriors wouldn’t be chasing a win record this season; (2) the San Antonio Spurs wouldn’t chase them as close for the one seed; and (3) the Warriors would rest players more often.

While I was on the mark with two of those theories, the Spurs had an amazing year and forced the Warriors to chase that one seed deep into the season. Also, I discounted how good the Warriors would be even when they rested players — and when players were out with injury.

2. Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry will cannibalize each other

As a reminder, this prediction was in terms of jersey sales and MVP votes.

I was dead wrong about the jersey sales. Curry has the top-selling jersey for the second year running and he surpassed Kobe Bryant in jersey sales in China.

In terms of MVP voting, we don’t have the final number of votes at this moment. So, while I can’t say they cannibalized votes, I can say they cannibalized consideration from each other. James Harden and Russell Westbrook were crowned as the inevitable choices from a surprisingly early point in the season.

Durant is so good that his numbers start to feel ho-hum even though it’s clear he is and has been one of the most dominant players in the league. Add in the fact that people are starting to talk about his defense — shout out to Jerry West who called that one — and surely he should have been in the conversation before he was injured.

As for Curry, no matter how you look at the MVP award, he should be a candidate. His numbers are stellar. His team has the best record in the league. He has a winning record against the other MVP candidates. He makes a great team better. And even under the eye test, you can see that his presence and gravity are unparalleled. But voter fatigue and general ire towards the Warriors make him a tough sell.

The question is, can a team that has a stellar 1A and 1B ever generate enough MVP votes for either player? The fact that Durant and Curry play together seems to rub voters the wrong way — as if having a great teammate disqualifies you from really being valuable.

Neither Durant nor Curry will win MVP this year. But while Durant missed too much time at the end of the season with his injury, Curry should at least be considered. Going forward, it will be harder for either to win the MVP award, so as long as they’re on the same team.

3. The Warriors won’t blow out teams like last year

Wrong. The Warriors actually increased their point differential from last season’s 10.8 to 11.6 this season. Again, my theories about record chasing and rest failed me.

4. Kevon Looney will get more playing time than Patrick McCaw

Are we sure this was me? Sounds more like the ravings of a crazy person.

Looney finished with 447 minutes and averaged 8.4 minutes per game. McCaw had 1,074 minutes and averaged 15.1 minutes per game. On top of that, McCaw had way more significant playing time than Looney, who mostly played garbage-time minutes.

While front-court depth seemed like an early season weakness with the departure of Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli, the emergence of a four-headed big-man rotation of Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee, David West and, more recently, James Michael McAdoo left Looney out in the cold.

5. Shaun Livingston will attempt more than 45 three-pointers

Here’s where this prediction came from.

I’m giving myself a win on this one because although Livingston fell well short of 45 attempts — *cough* three *cough* — his single made three was one of the best this season.

Also, I need a win because I’m starting to feel badly for myself.

6. Ian Clark will average the most points-per-game for the bench unit

This prediction was actually looking pretty good in the early part of the season. Clark was playing with confidence and led the bench in points-per-game (PPG) for several months.

But Clark stumbled for a stretch and just couldn’t find the touch for several games in the middle of the season. After Durant’s injury, Andre Iguodala stepped up big time and, as a result, leapfrogged Clark as the leading bench scorer. Iguodala finished with 7.6 PPG and Clark with 6.8.

Thankfully, Clark picked up his game, just like the rest of the squad, and everyone looks fine-tuned for the playoffs. Of note, in points per 36 minutes, Clark trails only Curry, Durant, Thompson and McGee.

7. Klay Thompson will be the team’s leading scorer

My reasoning? Thompson is the Gaston of our team.

No one sips like Klay Thompson.
No one quips like Klay Thompson.
No one bursts into flames quite so quick like Klay Thompson.

But in the end, Thompson ended up third in PPG with 22.3 and second in total points with 1,742. Not bad for someone who doesn’t know what a toaster is.

8. Bonus: Your predictions

The Warriors will lead the league in PD by an unprecedented 4.5+ over the 2nd-place Spurs.

  • Pretty good! Warriors lead the league with a point differential of 11.6. That’s 4.4 over the San Antonio Spurs with 7.2.

[W]e'll have a few 140 point games. Not blowing teams away, but we’ll have to score around 140 points out of necessity.

Draymond Green finishes top 10 in assists.

  • Green is No. 9.

Looney will get more playing time than McCaw. Barely.

  • I’m not alone.

Finally, for anyone who followed the ongoing bet I had with the wife, here are the final scores:

Mr. Lee — 20.5 points

Mrs. Lee — 21 points

The pain is real, ya’ll. But congratulations to a worthy competitor! She is now the soon-to-be owner of a brand new jersey. Or, perhaps it would be more appropriate for the prize to be pants.

I’m beginning to think predictions aren’t my thing.

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