Warriors -3 over Spurs for your NBA Picks

Jason Lake

Thursday, December 19, 2013 12:31 PM GMT

The Golden State Warriors have been struggling, but the return of Andre Iguodala should help them beat the NBA odds and the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday.

Jason’s record on his final NBA picks for 2013, up to December 17 inclusive:

25-25 ATS

5-5 Totals

All the Golden State Warriors haters out there, raise your arms up in the air and wave ‘em like you just don’t care. Anyone? Anyone? Nope, not a lot of haters out there. People either love the high-octane Warrior style, or more likely, they hardly ever think about this relatively small-market team with the sketchy history. After all, it’s been nearly 40 years since Rick Barry led the Dubs to the NBA championship. Forty very, very long years.

This could be the season when everything changes. Golden State is actually outside of the Top 8 in the Western Conference as we go to press, going 6-9 SU and 5-9-1 ATS over the past month. But the good times may be back now that all the Warriors starters are healthy. We’ll get to watch along with the millions (and millions!) of fans tuning into TNT to see Golden State do battle with the San Antonio Spurs. The early NBA lines have Golden State laying three points at home, up from two points at the open.

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The Ig-Nobel Prize

Even the most casual NBA fans are probably aware of PG Stephen Curry (24.5 PER) and his incredible shooting touch (41.7 percent from downtown). We’ve also seen a fair amount of publicity for SG Klay Thompson (15.7 PER, 43.6 3P%), although people are going a bit overboard with the praise for someone without a lot of natural athletic ability. However, the man with the goods to get this team over the top is SF Andre Iguodala (16.4 PER), a tremendous two-way player who came over from the Denver Nuggets during the offseason.

You could see how well Igoudala was meshing with his new teammates right from the get-go. But the party ended on Nov. 22 when the Team USA gold-medallist was lost to a hamstring injury. His 12-game absence coincided with a tough stretch of road games against Western foes, which is how Golden State ended up falling out of the Top 8. However, Iguodala returned in Tuesday’s 104-93 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans (+9 away). All is right with the world again.

Feeling Jermaine

Well, almost everything. The Warriors starting unit is complete, but the bench has taken a hit with center Jermaine O’Neal (11.6 PER) getting his right wrist scoped. He could be out for the rest of the season, if not permanently. O’Neal had something of a career renaissance last year with the Phoenix Suns, posting a 16.7 PER, and he’s been a useful enough player this year with 12.0 points and 8.7 rebounds per 36 minutes off the bench.

With O’Neal out for the foreseeable future, the Warriors find themselves running short on tall guys. Centers Festus Ezeli (9.3 PER last year) and Ognjen Kuzmic are both out indefinitely, leaving very little in the cupboard for the eventual day when Andrew Bogut (15.5 PER) gets injured again. Golden State should manage all right in the short term, but this is still going to be an issue when facing teams with lots of depth down low.

The Spurs are one of those teams. I get to write about these guys all the time; most recently, I faded them in Wednesday’s matchup with the Phoenix Suns, and goldarnit, San Antonio (–3.5 away) won 108-101, even though PG Tony Parker (19.9 PER) missed the game with a bruised shin. Parker’s supposed to miss Thursday’s game (10:30 p.m. ET) as well, and with the Spurs playing on zero days of rest, I’ll take my chances with Golden State.

NBA Pick: Take the Warriors –3 at BetOnline