By Frank Costagliola
After blowing a 3-1 series lead in the NBA finals to the Cavaliers, the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers are favorites to return for a finals rematch.
While the Warriors might of went home losers after a heartbreaking game seven loss in the finals, the Warriors were the clear winners off the offseason when they signed ultimate consolation prize in Kevin Durant.
How do you improve a 73 win team? By adding arguably the best player in the NBA in Kevin Durant. While it might be a stretch for Warriors to repeat or even break the regular season win record this season, you can expect them not finish not far behind.
Kevin Durant, brings a lot to the table. Durant is one of the best in the business at creating his own shot. Unlike like many superstars in the NBA, Durant doesn’t constantly need the ball in his to create scoring opportunities. One of things that makes Durant so lethal is ability to catch and shoot, which will transitions seamlessly with the Warriors style of offense.
However, if there is anything that makes this video game like Warriors team vulnerable, it has to be their size and bench depth. While role players like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston are still on the roster this year, the team will definitely miss Andrew Bogut on defense.
Bogut was a leader on defense, and was the anchor for the Warriors in the paint. When you think of the Golden State Warriors, your mind instantly thinks of an high powered offense, but the Warriors were also a very good defensive team last year. Thanks to Bogut down low, the Warrior finished eighth in defensive efficiency last season, so it’s safe to say his presence will be missed.
If there is any team that can beat the new and improved Golden State Warriors, it’s the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sure, the Spurs and Clippers might give the Warriors a run for their money, but ultimately it comes down to the Cavs.
While the Warriors might have the slightest of edges on the Cavaliers starting five, the bench of Cleveland is where they have the biggest advantage. The Cavaliers have a clear advantage over the Warriors’ big men on the bench.
Both Channing Frye and Chris Andersen are reliable players coming off the bench for Cleveland, and over both scoring and defense where the Warriors’ bench big men don’t.
It is entirely possible that the Warriors’ starters will score enough points to supplement their bench woes, or maybe it’s where teams like the Cavaliers and Spurs can expose them.