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ESPN Forecast: The Warriors are still heavy favorites over the field

The champs still hold a firm grip over the hearts of the league as ESPN’s panel of experts give them plenty of love in a series of mid-season polls.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s panel of experts teamed up to give their midseason votes on how the season is going to turn out, and the Golden State Warriors are predicted as the dominant favorite going forward.

In the West, the experts believe the back-to-back reigning champions are a sure lock to win their fourth straight conference title. The Dubs took 97% of the first place votes in this category. The only other team in the conference to receive first place votes were the Houston Rockets, the team that took Golden State to the brink of elimination last postseason before missing hella three-pointers in a row and vanishing.

In terms of the overall title picture, ESPN made note of a divergence of opinion between their two projection systems.

“Projection systems are split on just how strong Golden State’s title chances are. FiveThirtyEight gives the Warriors a 55 percent chance to win it all -- No. 2 Toronto is only at 15 percent -- while ESPN’s Basketball Power Index pegs the defending champs at just 15.7 percent likely to repeat, trailing Milwaukee (29.8 percent).”

Outside of that, the experts leaned heavily toward the Warriors closing out Oracle with a magical three-peat. The Dubs took 90.9% of the first place votes on who will win the championship this season. The Toronto Raptors trailed them at 4.5%, while the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks tied for 2.3% of the first place votes.

My favorite poll was “Warriors vs The Field.” 77% of the experts votes went to the Warriors, and that was a DECLINE from what it’s been during the “Hamptons 5” era.

This is the first time since Kevin Durant joined Golden State that this feels like a real debate. Our panel is still favoring the Warriors over the collective field of NBA teams, but their grasp is a little weaker than usual.

Do they know DeMarcus Cousins is about to join the squad?! Maybe we shouldn’t tell ‘em, sshhhh...

At any rate, it’s a great time to be a Warriors fan. I remember reading ESPN power rankings as a kid hoping just to break the top 20. Now, I read over the polls and chuckle in disbelief when the entire planet doesn’t 100% agree that the Warriors are going to win this third title in a row.


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