NBA

Four teams that can take Golden State in the West

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There​ ​is​ ​no​ ​doubt​ ​that​ ​the​ ​Golden​ ​State​ ​Warriors​ ​won​ ​free​ ​agency​ ​this​ ​July.​ ​They​ ​added​ ​the​ ​best
available​ ​free​ ​agent​ ​in​ ​Kevin​ ​Durant.

The​ ​ability​ ​to​ ​add​ ​a​ ​player​ ​of​ ​Durant’s​ ​stature​ ​without​ ​giving​ ​up​ ​any​ ​crucial​ ​pieces​ ​from​ ​the​ ​team
that​ ​was​ ​a​ ​game​ ​away​ ​from​ ​claiming​ ​the​ ​last​ ​two​ ​NBA​ ​championships.


The​ ​bench​ ​has​ ​been​ ​thinned​ ​out​ ​by​ ​the​ ​loss​ ​of​ ​players​ ​like​ ​Harrison​ ​Barnes,​ ​Festus​ ​Ezeli,​ ​and
Leandro​ ​Barbosa.​ ​But,​ ​the​ ​foursome​ ​of​ ​Stephen​ ​Curry,​ ​Klay​ ​Thompson,​ ​Draymond​ ​Green​ ​and
Kevin​ ​Durant​ ​is​ ​more​ ​than​ ​just​ ​frightening​ ​for​ ​other​ ​contenders​ ​out​ ​west.

Championships​ ​are​ ​not​ ​won​ ​on​ ​paper​ ​and​ ​we​ ​still​ ​have​ ​a​ ​season​ ​to​ ​play​ ​and​ ​playoffs​ ​to​ ​get
through​ ​before​ ​we​ ​can​ ​crown​ ​the​ ​Warriors.​ ​Here​ ​are​ ​the​ ​four​ ​best​ ​bets​ ​to​ ​challenge​ ​Golden​ ​State
for​ ​the​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​face​ ​the​ ​Eastern​ ​Conference​ ​champion​ ​in​ ​the​ ​finals:


#4)​ ​Houston​ ​Rockets

Houston​ ​brings​ ​back​ ​James​ ​Harden​ ​and​ ​a​ ​bevy​ ​of​ ​scoring​ ​threats.​ ​The​ ​offense​ ​will​ ​undoubtably
be​ ​bolstered​ ​by​ ​Mike​ ​D’Antoni​ ​and​ ​the​ ​additions​ ​of​ ​both​ ​Eric​ ​Gordon​ ​and​ ​Ryan​ ​Anderson.

The​ ​Beard​ ​brought​ ​the​ ​offensive​ ​fireworks​ ​with​ ​him​ ​from​ ​the​ ​day​ ​that​ ​he​ ​arrived​ ​in​ ​H-Town.
Dwight​ ​Howard​ ​went​ ​home​ ​to​ ​Atlanta​ ​and​ ​his​ ​absence​ ​will​ ​be​ ​felt​ ​on​ ​defence.


D’Antoni​ ​has​ ​never​ ​been​ ​known​ ​for​ ​the​ ​ability​ ​to​ ​craft​ ​effective​ ​schemes​ ​to​ ​protect​ ​the​ ​basket.
Clutch​ ​City​ ​will​ ​have​ ​to​ ​outscore​ ​their​ ​opponents​ ​to​ ​stay​ ​afloat​ ​against​ ​the​ ​high-powered​ ​Western
Conference.

The​ ​Warriors​ ​and​ ​other​ ​teams​ ​will​ ​look​ ​to​ ​take​ ​advantage​ ​of​ ​Harden​ ​in​ ​pick​ ​and​ ​rolls.​ ​Can​ ​the
Rockets​ ​score​ ​enough​ ​that​ ​none​ ​of​ ​that​ ​will​ ​matter? 

#3​ ​Portland​ ​Trailblazers

Damian​ ​Lillard​ ​is​ ​no​ ​stranger​ ​to​ ​big​ ​games​ ​and​ ​heroics​ ​on​ ​the​ ​big​ ​stage​ ​of​ ​the​ ​playoffs.​ ​The
Blazers​ ​are​ ​bringing​ ​back​ ​most​ ​of​ ​their​ ​surprisingly​ ​effective​ ​core.

The​ ​team​ ​overachieved​ ​last​ ​season​ ​after​ ​LaMarcus​ ​Aldridge​ ​departed​ ​in​ ​free​ ​agency.​ ​Portland
ended​ ​the​ ​2016​ ​campaign​ ​with​ ​44​ ​wins​ ​and​ ​38​ ​losses.


Lillard​ ​and​ ​his​ ​teammates​ ​advanced​ ​to​ ​the​ ​second​ ​round​ ​last​ ​playoff.​ ​They​ ​also​ ​managed​ ​to​ ​give
the​ ​defending​ ​western​ ​conference​ ​champion​ ​quite​ ​a​ ​scare​ ​in​ ​that​ ​series.

The​ ​youth​ ​and​ ​speed​ ​of​ ​players​ ​like​ ​C.J.​ ​McCollum​ ​and​ ​Myers​ ​Leonard​ ​match​ ​up​ ​surprisingly​ ​well with​ ​the​ ​rest​ ​of​ ​the​ ​field.​ ​But,​ ​Big​ ​Game​ ​Dame​ ​is​ ​going​ ​to​ ​need​ ​some​ ​serious​ ​help​ ​to​ ​top​ ​Curry’s squad.

#2)​ ​Los​ ​Angeles​ ​Clippers 

The​ ​Clipperbs​ ​looked​ ​prime​ ​for​ ​a​ ​deep​ ​postseason​ ​run​ ​when​ ​Stephen​ ​Curry​ ​went​ ​down​ ​with​ ​a
knee​ ​injury​ ​in​ ​the​ ​playoffs.

Then,​ ​as​ ​is​ ​common,​ ​L.A.​ ​had​ ​a​ ​spot​ ​of​ ​bad​ ​luck.

Chris​ ​Paul​ ​and​ ​Blake​ ​Griffin​ ​went​ ​down​ ​with​ ​season-ending​ ​injuries​ ​in​ ​the​ ​same​ ​game.​ ​The​ ​Clip
Show​ ​could​ ​have​ ​easily​ ​challenged​ ​Golden​ ​State​ ​with​ ​a​ ​full​ ​roster.



The​ ​second​ ​team​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Staples​ ​Center​ ​needs​ ​to​ ​have​ ​a​ ​change​ ​in​ ​luck​ ​to​ ​compliment​ ​their​ ​recent rebranding​ ​if​ ​they​ ​are​ ​going​ ​to​ ​capture​ ​the​ ​west.

DeAndre​ ​Jordan​ ​is​ ​with​ ​Team​ ​USA​ ​right​ ​now​ ​improving​ ​with​ ​every​ ​game.​ ​Griffin​ ​will​ ​be​ ​back​ ​and
fully​ ​healthy​ ​next​ ​season.

Can​ ​the​ ​Clippers​ ​finally​ ​make​ ​it​ ​over​ ​the​ ​hump? 


#1)​ ​The​ ​San​ ​Antonio​ ​Spurs

The​ ​Spurs​ ​will​ ​always​ ​be​ ​the​ ​constant​ ​force​ ​of​ ​stability​ ​in​ ​the​ ​NBA.

This​ ​franchise​ ​has​ ​been​ ​consistently​ ​excellent​ ​since​ ​Tim​ ​Duncan​ ​was​ ​drafted​ ​in​ ​1997.​ ​The
problem​ ​is​ ​that​ ​The​ ​Big​ ​Fundemental​ ​is​ ​now​ ​a​ ​thing​ ​of​ ​the​ ​past.

Kawhi​ ​Leonard​ ​and​ ​LaMarcus​ ​Aldridge​ ​must​ ​now​ ​lead​ ​the​ ​new​ ​era​ ​of​ ​San​ ​Antonio​ ​basketball.​ ​Old mainstays​ ​like​ ​Tony​ ​Parker​ ​and​ ​Manu​ ​Ginobli​ ​are​ ​back​ ​to​ ​ease​ ​the​ ​transition​ ​along​ ​with​ ​new
veterans​ ​like​ ​Pau​ ​Gasol.

The​ ​Spurs​ ​will​ ​have​ ​the​ ​wins​ ​but​ ​will​ ​they​ ​have​ ​a​ ​crack​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Warriors​ ​without​ ​their​ ​anchor.​ ​The
identity​ ​of​ ​the​ ​franchise​ ​was​ ​crafted​ ​after​ ​Duncan​ ​but​ ​will​ ​that​ ​be​ ​enough?

Topics:
San Antonio Spurs
Southwest Division
Western Conference
NBA
Houston Rockets
Chris Paul
LA Clippers
Pacific Division
Portland Trail Blazers
Northwest Division
James Harden

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