Which Western NBA Team is Likely to beat the Warriors?
Western Teams Who Can Beat the Warriors
All dynasties eventually fall but they don't just surrender the crown, someone must forcibly take it. The Golden State Warriors are still -273 favourites to return to the NBA Finals but a stormy offseason brought forth the rise of several "superteams" all in the Western Conference.
All of a sudden, we have not one, or two, but three potential challengers to the Warriors' dynasty and it begins with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Leading the way, the Thunder are +733 to end the Warriors' Finals streak. Reigning MVP Russell Westbrook achieved a seemingly impossible feat: averaging a triple-double in a season. He became the first to pull it off in over 55 years but being the sole star on his team doomed the Thunder to a quick first-round exit.
Enter: Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. The Thunder had to trade a glut of role players like Victor Oladipo, Enes Kanter, and Domantas Sabonis but in exchange, they get two bonafide superstars. George and Anthony also fill a critical need for the Thunder: three-point shooting. The Thunder ranked in the bottom-three of the NBA and in today's game, having deep threats is a must.
It's still early and the three superstars will have to gel.
The Miami Heat also took a while to gel so expectations for the new Thunder should be tempered. Westbrook should be the undisputed leader of the team. George and Anthony need to stay healthy especially Steven Adams, who is the defensive anchor now even more than ever. They're still a distant second to the Warriors but they're worth getting excited about.
Here's a look at other Western teams who could potentially unseat the Warriors...
The Spurs remain a top-three team in the West despite not making significant roster changes. Kawhi Leonard is coming off an injury but should be ready to once again be the team's MVP candidate. The new "twin towers" of LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol are solid even if their numbers don't always reflect it and the seemingly forgotten Tony Parker is still one of the NBA's best point guards if he's healthy.
Rudy Gay is the team's most significant addition. A career 18-points per game scorer, Gay will add some much-needed scoring help from the wing and coach Gregg Poppovich always gets the most out of his players. The Spurs continue to be better than the sum of their parts and were giving the Warriors a handful before Leonard's injury. They're a dark horse team to win it all.
While it's easy to focus on Chris Paul as the Rockets' most notable addition, it's the signings of role players P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute that could mean the difference between another second-round exit or dethroning the Warriors. Acquiring Paul is a high-risk high-reward scenario especially if coach Mike D'Antoni can get them to share the rock as they're both ball-dominant players.
The thought of having an elite playmaker for the Rockets for the entire 48 minutes is scary for most opponents but in giving up key players like Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams, the Rockets better hope Paul plays at least 60 games. Tucker, Mbah a Moute, and Paul are also energetic defenders and their additions could mean the Rockets will be more than just an offensive powerhouse.
The Timberwolves will be making the biggest leap on paper.
Going from lottery team to contender overnight is a tall task but if coach Tim Thibodeau can get a cohesive effort from his new team then the Wolves are at least a top-five team. The Wolves got a true superstar in Jimmy Butler who could be their closer while less pressure on Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins could free them up to further polish their skills.
The additions of All-Star point guard Jeff Teague, three-time Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford, and Taj Gibson, a familiar face from the Thibodeau-Bulls era add serious depth for this team. Role players like Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad need to step up their game and here's hoping Thibodeau's rugged style doesn't wear this team out before the playoffs.
NBA Betting Lines
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