If you’re a Golden State Warriors fan you’ll have already tried to put last season’s finals series behind you. However, the “3-1” memes, Draymond Green kicking jokes, and arguments about who would have won make it difficult to forget. There’s only one way to truly put it behind you.
And that’s redemption.
There’s no better feeling than beating the team who took the main prize away from you the previous season. Just ask the 2014-2015 San Antonio Spurs team, who beat Miami in the NBA finals in 5 games after falling short in a similarly dramatic 7 game series the previous season.
GSW are the favorites to win this season according to betting odds by CrownBet. Fans are rallying behind them and their chances of winning are looking more and more certain each game.
Here’s why I believe the GSW will be the new NBA champions.
Yes, that Kevin Durant. The guy who won the NBA MVP award in the 2013-2014 season. Adding a career 27.3 PPG scorer in his prime to a team that won 73 games last season is enough to warrant championship favoritism; especially after showing his willingness to defend the rim in the playoffs last season. While we associate Durant as a SF, this season he’s actually playing more minutes at PF (58%) than SF (42%), which is a sign of how the Warriors plan to use him in the playoffs, against other teams who like to play small.
The Warriors now have multiple defensive options when Cleveland goes small
One can argue that Kevin Love’s offensive talent is being utilized correctly for the first time since joining Cleveland. His usage rate this season has gone from 23.4% to 27.8%, which is only 1% off his peak. He’s also averaging a career high in three-pointers made (3.1). The Lebron and Love combination looked troublesome for the Warriors on paper last season, who often relied on Iguodala to cover LeBron, while Draymond or Barnes covered Love.
This is where Durant’s versatility comes into play. By having Durant cover Love on the defensive end, it allows Golden State to throw a combination of Draymond and Iguodala at LeBron, while Klay covers Kyrie. Limiting Iguodala’s minutes means they don’t have to hide his lack of offensive production on one side of the court. Instead, they’ll be able to take advantage of it, proposing a difficult match-up with two keys to their offense (Draymond and Durant) also being two keys to their defense.
There’s no regular season games record to break
If you ask anybody who has anything to do with Golden State, chasing the regular season games record had no influence on the outcome of the finals. This is called denial. The smarter teams like to traditionally get prepared, both mentally and physically, by winding down at the later end of the season when their playoff seeding is confirmed. But the NBA media had something else in mind, putting unwarranted pressure on the team to chase the record. This season there’s no games record to chase, allowing them to get ready for their playoff series without any added pressure.
Draymond Green won’t make the same mistake twice
Draymond took the suspension and the fact that he put his team in a disadvantage to heart. In order to make up for his past mistake, Draymond showed up to game 7 mentally prepared and produced a 32 points, 15 rebound and 9 assist effort.
It’s a shame the rest of his team didn’t show up. Draymond is the most vocal, lead by example type of player the Warriors have on their roster. It won’t be surprising to see Draymond in the same kind of focus he was in for game 7 for the entirety of the playoff series.
Will the Golden State Warriors get redemption and win the NBA finals? Only time will tell, but with Kevin Durant on their roster there’s no more excuses.