Warriors: Championship Favorites

By Eric Vallen

With the Suns and Bucks having been eliminated in the conference semifinals this past week, the Golden State Warriors are now the absolute championship favorite. With their star power, depth, and god-like ability to dig themselves out of a hole, there might not be any team that can beat them. 

Their conference finals opponent, The Dallas Mavericks, are admittedly the hottest team in basketball, with the best record in the NBA since January 1. In the semifinals, they toppled the Phoenix Suns in embarrassing fashion, a team that the majority of fans thought would win the championship. However, the mavericks have one crippling problem, lack of star power. Across the first and second rounds, the team has repeatedly been bailed out by fluke performances from fringe contributors, such as Spencer Dinwiddie and Jalen Brunson. This tactic, or reliance on luck, will not work against the Warriors. Unlike the Mavericks’ previous opponents, the Warriors are one of the best defensive teams in the league. They know how to shut down a team with a single star, shown in their first round rout of the Denver Nuggets and Nikola Jokic. They know how to shut down fluke scorers, as seen in Dillon Brooks’ and Desmond Bane’s lackluster performances in the semifinals. In short, the Warriors match the Mavericks in every way, and overpower them in every way as well. 

Hence, the warriors are going to the finals. Their potential opponents? Either the Miami Heat or the Boston Celtics. In all honesty, the Heat are unlikely to make it past the celtics. Although they hold the top seed in the east this year, they simply don’t have enough depth to make it past the Celtics. Duncan Robinson, who was previously a knockdown three point specialist, has been given several DNP coaching decisions since the beginning of the playoffs. Victor Oladipo and P.J. Tucker, although defensive specialists, are shells of what they once were. Past that, the Heat barely have 7 reputable players they can bring to the floor. Despite an impressive regular season, the Heat will see their end in the conference finals. 

Finals: Celtics v Warriors. In terms of matchups, the warriors seem outclassed. Marcus Smart on Steph Curry, Jaylen Brown on Jordan Poole, Jayson Tatum on Klay Thompson, Daniel Theis on Andrew Wiggins, and Al Horford on Draymond Green. From a defensive standpoint, the Celtics outclass the Warriors in every way, every traditional way. Literally every single player at every position is taller, longer, and generally, more athletic. However, they lack in two aspects, speed and offensive power. With the PTSD, (Poole, Thompson, Steph, Draymond) lineup, the Celtics have no chance in the open court. Furthermore, there is simply too much offensive firepower to cover in that lineup. With the addition of Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga, or Otto Porter in that lineup, there will always be someone open for three. On the defensive side of the ball, despite lack of size, the warriors still have an advantage. Theis and Horford of the Celtics are typically no-shows, leaving only three players on the court at a given time that the Warriors have to guard. They will let the others try to beat them. In the past, this has worked every time, both against the Nuggets and the Grizzlies. Furthermore, the Warriors wont slow, as they have eleven defensively competent players they can bring to the floor. In the upcoming NBA Finals, the Warriors are sure to win, most primarily due to their overwhelming depth and offensive firepower.