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GSOM Round(2)table - Part Two: X-factors and Series Predictions

The Golden State of Mind crew makes their predictions prior to the Warriors’ second round matchup with the Pelicans.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

After a relatively painless gentlemen’s sweep of the San Antonio Spurs in round 1, the Warriors are busy prepping for a second round battle against the New Orleans Pelicans and their star, Anthony Davis.

Golden State of Mind’s writers all sat down (virtually speaking) to discuss our thoughts and feelings heading into what would seem to be a much tougher series.

Who (or what) are the X-factors for this series - both for us, and the Pelicans?

Patrick: Against the Spurs I picked Kawhi Leonard as a potential X-factor. Again I’m going to be Captain Obvious. For us the only real question is when is Steph Curry, the Unanimous one, the Pelican Slayer, back to splash the living daylights out of this water fowl? And how rusty will he be? He was fantastic coming back after missing a month in December, but this time he’s not really played consistently for almost two months.

Still can’t believe the Pelicans don’t remember this...

Or for that matter this...

Daniel: X-Factor for the Dubs is Draymond Green. I think Alvin Gentry is going to straight up dare him to score 40 on us, while the Pelicans trap Durant and Thompson at all costs. If Green’s shot is hitting.....OOOOOH LAAAAWWWD.

Pelicans X-Factor (“X-Factor” is such a COOL word to type) is Rajon Rondo. If he’s orchestrating our defense into a dizzying spin, the Pelicans will run up and down with impunity. Much like Green, I’m sure the Warriors coaching staff will live with Rondo’s shots rather than Anthony Davis, Nikola Mirotic, or Jrue Holiday getting attempts.

Tom: Even though this series features some great front court talent (Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green), I think how the Pelicans do in this series will be decided by their backcourt play. The Pelicans beat the Trail Blazers in large part because Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo really held down Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Full stop. Will they be able to do that against Klay Thompson and either Andre Iguodala or Stephen Curry when he (hopefully) returns? Also, will Holiday and Rondo be able to do what they did offensively against a much tougher Warriors defensive backcourt? I fully expect Davis to play great in this series but I do wonder whether or not the Pelicans other players can keep up this pace. If they can, this will indeed be a tough series. If they can’t, it’s going to be very hard for the Pelicans no matter how great Davis is.

I think it will be important for the Warriors to see how Kevon Looney plays, especially on defense. Against the Spurs, Looney played outstanding but especially on defense. The Warriors will certainly give Davis some different defensive looks--sometimes Green, sometimes Durant-- but Looney, firmly locked into that “first big off of the bench” role will have to contend with him too. Again, I fully expect Davis to do well (he’s an elite talent in the league, it’s what he’s supposed to do) but can Looney put up some resistence and give Green or Durant a break from guarding him? That’s something that could have a large impact on how this series goes.

Okay, let’s lay it out - what’s your prediction for the series?

Hugo: Warriors in five. They have the talent and depth advantage, and if Steph comes back sometime during the middle of the series, the Pelicans will have no chance guarding them.

JMak: Warriors in four. Rep that brazen blogger boy confidence.

Patrick: Depending on when Curry comes back I think this could go six. If Curry’s not back until Game 3 the Pelicans could easily steal one at Oracle, and then take one at home while he’s still getting up to speed. But once he’s all the way back, then the Warriors should take this series.

Then again this might happen.

Ok, I’ve talked myself into Dubs in 5. That’s what wearing out those Steph Curry highlights on YouTube will do for you.

Daniel: Warriors in 5. I don’t anticipate them unleashing the power of their ultimate focus for a whole series until the Western Conference Finals.

Tom: I’ll be the cautious one—Warriors in 6.

Duby: I’m going to go with Warriors in 5. I’m pretty high on Jrue holiday right now, and expect that even when Steph Curry does return, it’s going to cause a few hiccups as the team re-adjusts to his presence. Also, Anthony Davis is a beast. And finally, I’m going to game 5, and have never seen a series clinched in person.

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