Last NBA season was a long, drawn-out wait for the NBA Finals. We could all see the looming battle between two great teams. One was the defending champion and the other had won the previous year. Already meeting in two Finals, with one win a piece, the three-match was eagerly anticipated. It was very difficult to predict between the two teams. In the end, it was the Golden State Warriors that trumped the Cleveland Cavaliers to take home the 2017 NBA Championship.
Now, the big question on the lips of the sports enthusiasts is whether the Warriors will have the clout to defend their title. It is seemingly obvious that these two will once again slug it out in the finals, and many people are predicting what the outcome will look like. When you look at the bookies, you will notice that the Warriors are given an opening -150 odds to defend the title, while the Cavaliers are placed at +300 to snatch it. The nearest rivals are San Antonio Spurs and the Boston Celtics at about +1200 to take the championship.
Necessities for a Golden State Warriors Title Defense
A quick look at the team shows that Stephen Curry has been over the moon with amazing performances for the Warriors. Many people have tipped him to again win NBA MVP for the regular season, just as he did in 2015-16. That season, the Warriors set the NBA regular season wins record. However, they would go on to lose the title to Cleveland. Following the season they would add Kevin Durant. With KD in the line-up, the Warriors cruised to a five-game victory in the finals. Many believe that if the Warriors keep performing like this, nothing can stop them from bagging another title. However, there are some potential areas that could cause them issues.
The Cavaliers had a rough off-season. They lost Kyrie Irving, but did get Isaiah Thomas in return from the Boston Celtics. The Cavaliers also failed to pick up any of the other big names who switched teams this summer. Meanwhile, Lebron James will be a free agent next summer, and has already been dropping hints, suggesting that he will head to Los Angeles to join the Clippers or Lakers. This is unsettling the team to an extent. There is also speculation surrounding Kevin Love‘s future. This talk has to effect the team’s psyche.
At the same time, the fact that James could be in his last season at the club may motivate him more, to ensure that the team clinches another trophy before he leaves.
The Warriors Will Retain the Trophy, If
However, given the impressive outing of the Golden States Warriors already, it will be good to posit that a few touches here and there will hand them the NBA championship again.
Curry Must Match James
He is the team’s MVP and a two-time NBA MVP, but he needs to get smarter. Curry did not look as good last season as he did the previous two years. Meanwhile, James continues to shine. Curry must reach his 2016 level and avoid living in James shadow. It has been noticed that the slump in a performance that Curry is experiencing is making him commit more fouls as well. If he doesn’t step up and gets frustrated, it could be a chink in the Warriors armor.
The Warriors need to get out to a strong start in games. They must avoid falling into early holes and having to come back. While they have been capable of making those comebacks, this expends more energy. Taking control of their games early could lead to a fresher team come the spring.
The Warriors defense has to try everything possible to stop James. He carries the Cavaliers team on his shoulders. If he can be stopped, or even slowed down, the depth of the Cavaliers line-up simply can not compete with Durant, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and the rest of the strong Warriors line-up.
Main Photo: OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 12: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-120 in Game 5 to win the 2017 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 12, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)