However, the latest version of the Dubs might be the best we’ve seen since way, way back in 1975, when the great Rick Barry led them to the championship.
The NBA betting cognoscenti are on board. They’ve pegged Golden State’s title odds as high as 18-1 on the NBA futures market, ahead of the star-studded New York Knicks at 22-1. The Warriors are still a notch behind the top contenders in the Western Conference, but if bargain-hunting is your thing, Oakland is your destination.
|Oklahoma City Thunder||7-4|
|San Antonio Spurs||3-1|
|Los Angeles Clippers||11-2|
|Golden State Warriors||13-1|
Here’s a quick snapshot of the expected pecking order in the West this year, using the very early NBA conference championship odds coming out of Vegas.
There’s a sheer drop-off from here to the howling pack of Western pretenders at 45-1. There’s also a sizeable gap between the first four teams on this list and the rest. But of those four franchises aimed at a lower playoff seed, the Warriors (47-35 SU, 42-39-1 ATS last year) are by far the most upwardly mobile.
The version of the Warriors that you see today can be traced back to 2010, when Chris Cohan (the NBA’s No. 4 Worst Owner in 2009, according to Sports Illustrated) sold the team to Joe Lacob and Peter Guber. Bob Myers was brought in as an assistant GM for the 2011-12 campaign, then promoted to the main post one year later; his haul at the 2012 NBA Draft included small forward Harrison Barnes (13.1 points, 5.8 rebounds per 36 minutes) at No. 7 and center Festus Ezeli (10.1 rebounds, 2.4 blocks/36) at No. 30.
The highest-profile change for the Dubs, however, was the hiring of Mark Jackson as head coach. The former point guard and respected ESPN analyst encountered rough seas during his maiden voyage, as the young Warriors struggled through injuries en route to a 23-43 record in the lockout-shortened season. But they also crushed the NBA betting lines at 36-29-1 ATS, a promising sign for the future.
Feat of Klay
Turns out those injuries were a blessing in disguise. They allowed shooting guard Klay Thompson to start 29 games as a rookie, and he was impressive right out of the box, hitting 41.4 percent from downtown and 86.8 percent from the free-throw line. Thompson started all 82 games last year and kept firing – 40.1 percent from long range, 84.1 percent from the stripe.
With the gifted Stephen Curry (45.3 percent 3PT, 90.0 percent FT) playing alongside Thompson at point guard, Jackson told reporters during last year’s playoffs that the Warriors possessed the “greatest shooting backcourt in the history of the game.” This bold statement really got people’s underwear in a bunch. It’s easy enough to argue for, say, Steve Nash and Joe Johnson of the 2004-05 Phoenix Suns, but the important takeaway for betting on the NBA is that people are hesitant to give credit to a couple of youngsters playing for a “small-market” team out West.
Meanwhile, the Dubs are loaded for bear in 2013-14. They’ve cleared out much of their veteran deadwood and brought in All-Star swingman Andre Iguodala, a Team USA regular and a defensive stalwart who added 13.4 points per 36 minutes for the Denver Nuggets last year. Golden State also picked up a sleeper candidate in point guard Nemanja Nedovic, the No. 30 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Throw in some cheap, yet capable free agents in Jermaine O’Neal, Marreese Speights and Toney Douglas, and the Warriors are both talented and deep at every position. This is the excellent team that the excellent fans at Oracle Arena deserve. The rest of us should get to enjoy some excellent sports betting value along the way.
The 2013-14 NBA season is just a few short months away. Join the discussion now!