City Sports Report

The Golden State Warriors Have Challenges Ahead In The West

Steve Kerry and Steph Curry going over strategy (photo courtesy of www.espn.com)

The Golden State Warriors have been excellent this season. They have the best record in the NBA and many think they have what it takes to win an NBA title. The Splash Brothers, guards Klay Thompson and Steph Curry, along with the emergence of players like Draymond Green and Marreese Speights have made this team even better than they were last year under the leadership of first-year coach Steve Kerr. But along this magical journey, there will be some teams that could cause them some issues. Of course, many will have issues matching up with them. But in the Wild Wild West, anything can and usually does happen. So there will be challengers to the Warriors journey along the way.

One team that could hinder them is the Memphis Grizzlies. The combination of size with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph could be very troublesome for the Warriors. And with the addition of small forward Jeff Green to the team, Memphis got that much more explosive on the perimeter. In the playoffs, the game will slow down some. And when that happens, the Grizzlies have an advantage. The Memphis big men will undoubtedly be able to take advantage of a smaller Draymond Green in the post and will be looking to post up against him as often as they can. This matchup may cause the Warriors to have to go to veteran David Lee off the bench more than usual and that would hurt the Warriors offensive ability to spread the floor a little because Lee’s range does not go out as far on the court as Green’s. But on the flipside, if Golden State is shooting the basketball well, it could put the Grizzlies back on their heels and force them to make adjustments. If that is to happen, that would force either Gasol or Randolph to sit and only one to be on the floor. That would also potentially put Jeff Green as the stretch four, but Jeff Green versus Draymond Green is not a good matchup for the Grizzlies at all. All in all, the Grizzlies have a good chance to cause some serious concerns for the Warriors should they matchup in the playoffs. And we didn’t even get into the matchup of Mike Conley Jr. versus Steph Curry, which would be quite interesting to watch.

Another team that could cause problems for the Warriors are the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs are not playing as well as they did last year, but the medal they have with guys like Tim Duncan and Tony Parker cannot be ignored. When this team of vets makes the playoffs, it seems like they take on another level of play. Steph Curry will be a problem for the Spurs, but Tony Parker will be that same problem for the Warriors. The speed that Parker plays with can break down the Warriors defense and with shooters like Danny Green and Marco Belinelli, the Spurs could put the Warriors in some compromising positions. Another issue for the Spurs will be defending Tim Duncan. The Big Fundamental has been visiting the fountain of youth this season as he is one of the few players in the NBA averaging a double-double. With him inside, the Warriors have a problem brewing. Of course the Spurs will probably find a way to get Duncan matched up with Green when they can. And that may force the Warriors to go to David Lee just like they would have to if they would have to if they were to face the Grizzlies. But the bigger issue for the Warriors would be Kawhi Leonard. The versatile wing player’s matchup versus Harrison Barnes could be problematic for the Warriors. Leonard is playing for a new deal and is sure to pick it up even more in the second half of the season. And when he takes it to another level, we all saw what he can do. He was taking it to the best player in the NBA in the NBA Finals last season, so imagine what he could do to Harrison Barnes. Leonard could be the tipping point in a series that would be hotly contested and a tough matchup for the Warriors.

There are other teams in the West that could cause issues for the Warriors, but these two teams are the ones that can create a bad matchup for the Warriors and could potentially help end what has been a great season for them. The Houston Rockets are pretenders and without Dwight Howard and the way they depend on the three, they will die by three-pointers and jump shots even quicker than the Warriors would. The Dallas Mavericks are an interesting team but not one that can pose a serious threat unless Rondo plays like Rondo and they find a backup big man that can help take some of the pressure off Tyson Chandler. And as far as the Portland Trailblazers, it just seems like besides the depth they have not developed, they are just missing something to take them to the next level. The Los Angeles Clippers seem to not have it together this season at all, so they are not in this conversation. And as far as  the Oklahoma City Thunder cannot be included in this conversation because of them being out of the playoffs at the present time. But if they are to make it, they could cause some problems for the Warriors as well as the other two teams mentioned. It should be fun seeing how things develop in the Wild Wild West, but the Warriors are the cream of the crop right now. And ultimately, the things that make them so good could be the things that help get them taken advantage of. Draymond Green, although he is a favorite for Defensive Player of The Year, is still an undersized power forward. And in the playoffs, that could limit his impact on the game and his playing time. And the speed with which the Warriors play and the speed with which they play could backfire on them come playoff time as well. Ultimately, they need someone to step up inside and give them some easy baskets for when the game slows down and those jumpers aren’t falling. It should be fun to see if the Warriors can turn their regular season style into postseason success.

For more sports talk, feel free to follow me on Twitter @General_MP or check me out on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .

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