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3 Teams the Warriors Have to Watch Out for This Season

The 2016-17 Golden State Warriors are built to be potentially one of the greatest NBA teams ever yet they are not invincible. The talent is there but one or two injuries can change things in the blink of an eye. Of note, the Warriors won’t have the depth they had enjoyed last season with the departures of Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes, and Festus Ezeli.

Beating The Reserves

Defeating the Warriors will not happen by trying to outscore their stars including Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant. Instead, one must focus on maximizing the advantage to be had when competing against the reserves.  The Warriors will also have to depend upon playing small ball without a legit center to fill the lane. Team like the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, and Los Angeles Clippers will need to take advantage they will enjoy competing against the Warrior bench that contains rookies and fringe players.

No Big Guys

The Warriors will probably be outrebounded by the Cavaliers, Spurs, and Clippers.  At least, they will have to be if they are going to be beaten.  All of the above teams have the personnel and each has demonstrated their effectiveness in doing so in prior match ups. The Cavaliers young center Tristan Thompson did well in last year’s finals in limiting the Warriors to one shot per possession and keeping Curry’s penetration to a minimum.

Former Miami Heat Chris Andersen is available to back up Thompson and can provide 15 to 20 minutes in relief to limit the Warriors second chance possessions. The Spurs brought in LaMarcus Aldridge a year ago, and he has proven a worthy asset to limit the Warriors chances at points in the paint. The Spurs utilize their bigs to defend Curry to slow down his ability to shoot the three and drive the lane. The Cavaliers successfully mirrored the strategy in the finals when they shifted forward Kevin Love to body Curry. The Clippers have the ultimate weapon at the center position in DeAndre Jordan, as he consistently is one of the league’s best at limiting second chance points, historically leads the league in rebounding, and field goal percentage. The one drawback is the team has to take him out in the later stages of the game for fear of having to see him at the charity stripe where he struggles mightily.

Limit Transition

The Warriors thrive in getting the ball out on transition after a missed shot. Yet, one can take advantage of the emotional Warriors in the same manner. Curry and Green driving the lane and missing a shot can give an opponent an opening to run and score on the other end of the floor. If the break is not there, use a structured offense as the Spurs often exhibit to not settle for a rushed shot.

Importantly, one must make the Warriors work on the defensive end. Curry and Durant are human and tire like any professional basketball player. If they are working hard on the defensive end, their legs will not have as much spring to fire up shots on the offensive end. The Cavaliers, Spurs, and Clippers can utilize off ball screens to beat down the Warrior guards which can pull Durant out to assist thereby opening the lane for James, Aldridge, and Griffin to get their points. Either way these three teams must play the perfect game and hope that the Warriors make multiple mistakes. The Warriors are the favorite to win the title in 2017 due to the Durant acquisition which will put all others on catch up mode.