Does Golden State Have A Weakness?
Over the last two seasons, the Warriors’ defense was outstanding. This season it has been a little bit weaker, but my assumption is they have been saving themselves for the playoffs. With DeMarcus Cousins not playing until the second half and Andrew Bogut playing in Australia until a few weeks ago, this Warriors team has the ability to play defense like they did in their last two championships.
If you look at their numbers and games since March 1, the Warriors have slowly been improving on the defensive end. They own a defensive rating of 106.2 since then spread out over their final 20 regular season games. That rating ranks them 5th-best in the league during that same time span.
If their defensive issues from earlier in the season are taken care of with Cousins fully healthy and Bogut there to back him up, the Dubs don’t have an on-court weakness.
However, that isn’t to say they don’t have one. Playing in what could be their fifth-straight NBA Finals could be taxing on this team. Just watching them earlier in the year, you could tell that guys were starting to get aggravated easier, especially the dynamic of Draymond Green and Kevin Durant.
Throw in Steve Kerr’s, “I’m so sick of Draymond’s shit,’ lip sync quote from earlier this year and you have a situation where it may not matter that their basketball skill is. If they aren’t on the same page off the court, or even quietly feuding, it could affect them in the second round and potential conference finals matchup.
Which Teams Can Exploit Warriors’ Weaknesses?
With that in mind, the West is a dog fight. Assuming the Warriors make somewhat quick work of the Clippers and the Rockets can survive what will be a tough test against the Jazz, that second round matchup is going to be nuts. Houston has every bit the offensive firepower that Golden State does and dare I say they have similar defensive upside?
Houston is definitely the first team Golden State will face that has an actually chance of beating them. However, if the Warriors win their first series in four or five games and the Rockets need seven to beat the Jazz, it might take away all of the slim chances Houston has of beating them.
The bottom half of the West bracket is interesting as well, but I think the Thunder are the most likely to emerge from it, despite playing as the 6th seed. Portland’s loss of Jusuf Nurkic I think kills their chances of advancing, while the Nuggets and Spurs are not as good as the Thunder in my opinion.
However, Houston has the best chance of beating the Warriors. I hate to think this, but Golden State’s toughest series in the entire playoffs might be against Houston in the second round. If they survive that, or get help from Utah in knocking them out a round earlier, Golden State will cruise to a three-peat and their fourth championship in five seasons.
Any Valuable Future Odds?
Right now, Houston does not have a ton of value to win the West, simply because they would have to go through the Warriors in the second round to do it.
However, the one valuable line I see right now that could be hedged for some profit down the road is the Thunder. At +2000 at BetOnline to win the West and +4000 to win it all, if the Thunder make it to the Western Conference Finals, you could sell both those tickets on Prop Swap for a hefty profit margin.
Outside of the Thunder though, it’s slim pickings on some really sharp NBA Future Odds for what should be a very entertaining playoffs.
My Pick: Thunder To Win West (+2000)
Best Line Offered: BetOnline