If the Golden State Warriors want to win their fourth championship in the last eight years, they’ll have to go through a few very good teams. There’s simply no other path. Championships are hard for a reason, after all.
But just because the Dubs will have to best some high-quality squads doesn’t mean that all good teams are created equal. The Warriors certainly have some teams they would prefer to face over others, and you, as a fan, likely have some as well.
So I was curious to poll you all on three questions to see who you would least like the Warriors to face at various stages of the postseason.
First up is the opening two rounds. Who scares you most? The Dallas Mavericks, led by Luka Dončić, who just reminded the Dubs as to how dangerous they are on Sunday; the Denver Nuggets, who have had a quality year and are likely to welcome Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. back before the end of the regular season; the Utah Jazz, perpetually an elite regular season team that struggles in the postseason; the Los Angeles Lakers who, despite a comically bad year, still have LeBron James; the Los Angeles Clippers, who always seem to play the Warriors hard; or the Minnesota Timberwolves, who boast the underdog mentality alongside their burgeoning star duo of Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards?
Second up is the Western Conference Finals. Though the Warriors could potentially face one of the aforementioned teams then, and could face one of these teams before the finals, this really serves to ask, “which of the West’s top teams do you least want the Warriors to face?” Is it the Phoenix Suns, who have been the best team in the NBA all year, but have an injury-prone leader in Chris Paul? Or is it the upstart Memphis Grizzlies, who promise to out-heart and out-hustle every opponent, while also having the firepower to out-talent?
And finally we arrive at the NBA Finals. The Dubs are looking to return to the Finals for the first time since 2019, when they finished off a run of five trips in as many years there. If Golden State makes it that far, which team do you least want to see? The Philadelphia 76ers, who retooled by adding James Harden next to MVP candidate Joel Embiid and look deadly; the Brooklyn Nets who, if healthy, sport a terrifying trio of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons; the Milwaukee Bucks, whom everyone seems to be forgetting are the defending champions; the Chicago Bulls, who are as fun as they are deadly with an MVP candidate in DeMar DeRozan; the Miami Heat, who have as good of a two-way core as exists with Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and PJ Tucker; or the Cleveland Cavaliers, whom the Dubs have plenty of experience playing in the NBA Finals, even if only one player from the 2018 team remains?
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