GS Warriors vs The Western Conference Field…Who You Got?

READS: 539
Updated: March 27, 2015
draymond Green steph and klay thompson
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

The Golden State Warriors are having their best season in years. Well, their best season in their history for that matter. The Warriors are deep, they’re fun to watch, they have a couple of star players, a defensive juggernaut to anchor them, and a head coach that seems to get the best out of this crop of players.

This team should be feared in the Western Conference and in the NBA as a whole because they’re hard to beat. And with the best record in the NBA, they don’t fear anyone. But with little playoff success in recent seasons, and with a rookie head coach, how serious can we take the Warriors as a team to come out of the ultra competitive Western Conference?


The NBA’s Leading Man?

 NBA: Sacramento Kings at Golden State Warriors

It’s no coincidence that the best team in the league boasts one of the best players on the planet who may also be the next league MVP. Steph Curry, Chef Curry, Curry Christ or whatever you want to call him, is playing out of this world basketball. Curry is possibly the best shooter the NBA has seen in over a decade and he’s easily the best shooter in the Association right now.

Curry can pull up from well beyond 23 feet and he can easily dribble his way through multiple defenders and either get to the basket at will or set up a teammate for a wide open shot or layup. Curry is so good with his shots that his feet don’t even need to be set when he pulls up.

He can be leaning in any direction or even off-balance and he will connect on a shot. Curry doesn’t even need to watch the ball make it to the basket to know it went in, because for him, he’s basically automatic:

Steph Curry no look shot

Scary. We all know that his dribbling and shooting are the staples of his game but Curry has also improved on the defense end of the ball creating turnovers will harassing opposing point guards all game long. Here are Curry’s defensive numbers on the season which definitely show he’s starting to get it done on that end of the floor as well:

Curry defensive number

With Curry leading the lines, the Warriors are in good hands, but Curry isn’t enough.


The Supporting Cast…

draymond green-andre iguodola 

As great as Steph Curry is, he’s not going to be able to carry this team alone, and he hasn’t needed to. Curry has a great supporting case around him including Klay Thompson who may be the best two-way player in the Association. Thompson is a lights-out shooter similar to Curry, but where Curry lights up the world with dribbling ability and flair, Thompson excels on the defensive end of the floor.

Thompson is a great defender and helps lock down opposing shooting and point guards when necessary. And with his shooting ability, it makes the Klay/Curry combo hard to stop when they’re both on.


Then there’s Draymond Green, the defensive stopper who may go on to win Defensive Player Of the Year honors. Green can help put the ball in the basket but he makes his bread and butter on the defensive end up shutting down the opposition’s best player. Green is quick, he’s strong, he has a high basketball IQ and is a relentless defender.

He’s there to clean up any mess left behind by his teammates and he does it well. Add in to the mix veterans Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, young Harrison Barnes who’s a rising star, David Lee and Andrew Bogut who are very good players when healthy, and a coach who’s won championships playing next to all-time great players, and you have all the elements that have propelled the Warriors to the best record in the Association.

All the praise the Warriors have garnered this season is well deserved. But are the Warriors built for 3 rounds and 12 wins worth of basketball against the West’s elite? I don’t believe so.


The Western Conference Field…


As great as the Warriors have been in the regular season, the playoffs are a completely different monster. And regular season success means nothing come April and beyond. As much respect as I must give to the Warriors for the season they’re putting together, they have to overcome some daunting obstacles that I don’t think this team is quite ready for yet.

A few teams I can see the Warriors losing to are the Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs.


Thunder Nation, Stand Up?

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Out of the three teams I just named, the Warriors will likely be facing the Thunder first, and although I give the Thunder a punchers chance, it will take a Herculean effort by Durant to pull this off especially with the new Kevin Durant is out for the rest of the season. If the Thunder can get Serge Ibaka back for the playoffs, and Enes Kanter keeps playing well, then there’s a slim chance the Thunder can pull this off. No one is having a better second half of the NBA season than Russell Westbrook.

And it’s going to take every bit of heart, skill and determination from the Thunder super-star to beat the Warriors. It would be blockbuster superstars going head to head. It would be an interesting series, and it would be must see TV, but the absence of Durant is a back-breaker. Let’s see what Westbrook and company can muster come prime-time. 


Memphis, Anyone?

zach randolph-mike conley-marc-gasol

Next up on my “The Warriors would definitely have trouble with them” list, the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies are playoff tested and are always battle ready come playoff time. At the heart of the team are the giants in the frontcourt Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.

For most of the season, Gasol was touted as a possible MVP candidate; he’s a great a big man. Gasol is an elite defender and can score either inside the paint or from outside on the perimeter with a really good jump shot.

He’s incredibly intelligent and also a damn good passer of the ball. Where Gasol is finesse, Randolph is the bully on the block. Randolph is a double-double machine and he loves to get into it with opposing centers and power forwards.

Randolph has a “never back down” attitude and will take on anyone in the post who’s in his way, and more often than not, Randolph wins.

And this is where the Warriors would find themselves in a lot of problems. Gasol and Randolph would have their way in the post with Lee and Bogut, and that’s in the event that both Lee and Bogut were healthy.

Then the Grizzlies have their own elite perimeter defender in Tony Allen who would be covering either Klay or Curry Christ. Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley is a also very good defender in his own right and an underrated point guard.

This would not be an ideal match-up for the Warriors. If either Curry or Klay can’t take the game over with their playing ability, there aren’t any other players on the Warriors that can put the team on their back. I think the Grizzlies in a 7 game series would be a nightmare match up for the Warriors.


The Legends Are Still Here…


I’m going on record and saying I believe the San Antonio Spurs are going to win one last championship this year, and if that’s the case, it would mean the Warriors didn’t make it past the legendary Spurs Big 3 and their Hall of Fame coach Gregg Popovich. I can easily write an entire article on just the Spurs being the next champions alone, but there isn’t much that needs to be said.

Tim Duncan is still playing at a high level at 38 years of age, Tony Parker was fast asleep at the point guard position all year-long and decided to wake up just in time for the final playoff push because he’s been playing great recently, Manu Ginobli always shows up big in crunch time, and KawhiLeonard is a burgeoning star and an elite defender.

As talented and fun as the Warriors are to watch, you can’t put a price on playoff experience and big game presence.

The Spurs have beaten countless legends on their way to this 2000’s dynasty they’ve been a part of, and this won’t be the year the Warriors beat them. The playoff’s come down to strategy and elite coaching as much as it does talent on the court.

And unless it’s Phil Jackson or Rick Carlisle tagging in for Steve Kerr in the playoffs, Gregg Popovich is miles ahead of the coaching curve. Coach Pop can’t be matched with his basketball knowledge and he has 5 rings and a decade of 50 win seasons to prove it.


Kerr is a rookie coach who’s played under Popovich, so he’s well aware of what he would be up against if the two teams met in the playoffs. Kerr is bringing a lot of young guns with him, and that Warriors fan base is essentially like having a 6th player on the court, but none of that matters when playing the Spurs who have been through it all, and seen it all.

I love watching the Warriors play, and with their level of talent, skill and depth, anything can happen in the playoffs. If the Warriors were in the Eastern Conference they would most likely be my pick to make it to the finals.

But the Western Conference is an entirely different monster. But again, anything is possible, especially when you have the potential league MVP playing out of his mind for you. But with such a stacked field in the West, and the Spurs still looking like they have one last go in them, it’s hard for me to pick the Warriors against the field.

I have no horse in this race, and I would be happy if the Warriors won it all this year. So Warriors Nation, I wish your team the best of luck on trying to win an NBA Championship this season, and may the best team win.

Follow @LSN_Frantz on Twitter

Sacramento Kings v Golden State Warriors

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

+ four = 7

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>