When the 73 win Golden State Warriors acquired Kevin Durant, it gave them an advantage over every other team in the NBA: Two MVP caliber players on one roster surrounded by All-NBA talent. When they acquired DeMarcus Cousins in the off-season, fans expected them to continue to dominate the NBA.
Yet, there is doubt about what seemed to be a forgone conclusion to the season. After a slow start, the Warriors sit on top of the conference. Here’s why it’s time to stop worrying about Golden State.
Golden State is in the #1 seed, despite a slow start and early chemistry issues
Golden State currently sits in the #1 seed, although not as comfortably as in the past few seasons. They have won eight of their last ten games and currently ride a six game win-streak through mid-January.
The Nuggets are on their tails, trailing behind them by a game. They have leaped forward in the playoff standings compared to last year, when they painfully missed the postseason by one game. They racked up embarrassing losses to inferior teams, which ultimately caught up to them at the end of the season.
The fact is: their slow starts are better than most team’s hot streaks. There was little doubt that Kevin Durant and Draymond Green could put their fight behind them, despite the rest of the NBA’s wishes for it to sink the Warriors chemistry irreparably. They are scoring at record levels, and will only continue to get better as the season goes on.
The main goal is integrating DeMarcus Cousins, not getting the 1st seed
Golden State’s early season struggled were highlighted by ugly losses and tension between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. Now that these tensions seem to have subsided, the Warriors have gotten back to their winning ways. Even if they do not secure the #1 seed, they should be confident in a matchup against anyone.
The Warriors should be focused on making sure that DeMarcus Cousins fits into their system, although it may end up costing them chemistry at first. After winning 73 games in the 2015-2016 season, they lost in the Finals to a Cavs team that notched less than 60 wins. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving used their star power to overcome a 3-1 deficit.
With the Cavaliers banished from playoff contention after James’ departure, Golden State’s biggest challenge will likely come from a team out West once again. With Cousins back, no team appears to be prepared to match their quality.
DeMarcus Cousins has not made his debut yet
Arguably the best center in the NBA when healthy, DeMarcus Cousins has yet to play a game for Golden State after signing with them after tearing his Achilles Tendon last year. Adding him to their line-up creates an All-NBA Dream Team that in theory, should eviscerate any team that comes into their path.
With many of Golden State’s players only needing a small amount of time to get their shot off, it appears that there will be enough touches for everyone. Experts expect that the basketball minds in the Bay Area will find a way to make it work.
Cousins anxiously awaits his return, and is set to make his debut Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Warriors beat the #2 seed behind 51 points in the 1st quarter
In Tuesday night’s #1 vs #2 seed battle, The Warriors demolished the Denver Nuggets in a statement win, dropping an NBA record 51 points in the 1st quarter.
It’s hard to imagine the Nuggets keeping up with the Warriors at full strength. Their offense possesses the power to devastate teams in record-breaking shooting performances.
Even without Cousins, The Warriors have more depth than anyone in the league
Outside of Cousins coming back, he joins two former NBA MVPs in their prime, a former Coach of the Year, a GM of the Year, a All-NBA Defensive Player and former Defensive Player of the Year award winner, two Finals MVPs, and a system that revolutionized modern basketball with a barrage of clean three point looks.
Even if they aren’t playing “well,” that’s by Golden State standards. They are still playing better than everyone else in the Western Conference.
While they have lost more already than in previous years, there is little to suggest that anyone could beat them four times come the postseason. It’s time to stop panicking about Golden State.