6 Teams that Could Dethrone the Warriors
Oklahoma City Thunder
Obviously, the Thunder have the reigning MVP, Russell Westbrook, who averaged a triple-double last season. Sam Presti was able to have a great off-season acquiring Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. The Thunder now have two strong defensive minded players, Paul George and Andre Roberson. You can also include in that discussion Steven Adams, who brings a certain physicality that many can’t. They have one of the best offenses in the league but will need to win on the defensive end of the court.
The Oklahoma City Thunder also have a good bench in Patrick Patterson, Semaj Christon, Alex Abrines, and Raymond Felton. There’s no question the Thunder will make it to the playoffs but how much further can they go? With Sam Presti’s offseason moves, it looks like he set up something special.
The Cavaliers still have the best player in the league, LeBron James. They made several off-season additions including Dwayne Wade, Derrick Rose, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and Jeff Green. The Cavaliers have a lot of shooters on this team, J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver, Kevin Love, etc.
LeBron and Isaiah (once he comes back from injury) will have no problem facilitating an offense with their playmaking abilities. Early in the season, they’ll need strong PG play from Derrick Rose and LeBron. If they can take care of the ball, they’ll be fine until Isaiah returns.
This season the Rockets have two of the top assist men in the league, James Harden and Chris Paul, acquired from the Clippers. The Rockets still have a talented team and can hit 15+ threes a night. There’s no question the Rockets can keep up with teams scoring but their problem will be defensively.
Last season the Rockets had barely any talent on the defensive end of the floor. One key acquisition in the off-season other than Chris Paul was P.J. Tucker. Tucker will bring a certain attitude and physicality to the defensive end of the court.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are trying to mesh their younger players with their aging veterans, which has not gone bad but this will be the year to tell if the younger guys are ready to carry this team. Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul Gasol, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker are all returning to this Gregg Popovich run team.
The Spurs have the experience and one of the best coaches of all time. The question will be can the veterans keep up with younger, faster players? The off-season signing of Rudy Gay should help but how healthy will he be this season coming off an injury? The young players will need to step up this season.
The Celtics lost two of their best defensive players, Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley. They also traded Isaiah Thomas for Kyrie Irving and were able to sign Gordon Hayward to reunite him with his college coach Brad Stevens.
The Celtics have a lot of young talented guys, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, and Jaylen Brown that will be asked to contribute this season. The biggest question mark for the Celtics will be how well can they rebound? They’ll have the scoring but will their defense be able to pick up consecutive stops? If the Celtics rebound the ball well and can pick up stops on the defensive end of the floor, they’ll make a run at the #1 seed in the East.
The Timberwolves are a small market team and many of their moves this off-season have gone under the radar. They acquired Jimmy Butler on draft night and signed huge additions in Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford. As we all know, Karl Anthony-Towns has quickly become a top player in this league.
With all the off-season signings the Timberwolves deserve to be talked about. Now, will they compete to take down the Warriors, it’s a long shot but they’re deserving to be in the discussion.