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Vegas Win Total Projection: 60.5 (VegasInsider.com)
The defending NBA champions are looking to repeat and with a relatively similar squad, they've certainly got a good shot. David Lee was this teams' biggest lost of the offseason, but they essentially replaced the aging forward with Jason Thompson, another veteran in the league with a slightly different skill set. With the leagues best back court in Thompson and Curry, they've always got a chance. I picked them as my favorites to go back to the NBA championship in a rematch with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but that being said, there are a couple worrisome stats for teams trying to go back to the NBA Finals. Only 4 teams since 1971 (not coached by Phil Jackson), have made it back to the NBA finals, that's only 11%. But the thing that really worries me about this team is health. Last year, all of their starters remained relatively healthy. Usually the teams that are healthiest end up going further and deeper into the playoffs. As I am predicting the season, I am hoping they stay healthy, but if someone like Curry, Barnes, Green, or Thompson goes down for a number of months, I wouldn't be surprised if we don't see them advance out of the Western Conference. But I expect to see them raring on all cylinders this season, the future and the present look quite nice if your a Golden State fan baring any unforseen injuries or setbacks. Oh and by the way, they added Steve Nash as a part-time consultant, as if they didn't have enough great coaches.
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Well, who else can you choose besides Stephen Curry? Exactly. He's in the beginning of his prime with a championship and MVP, I only see him getting better. This team relies on him to score about 25, get about 8 assists, and add 4 to 5 rebounds a night. He's an all-around great production player in the league and will continue to be that. His first couple preseason games have shown how good he will continue to be, adding 19 points in 17 minutes against the Rockets, as well as 19 points in 22 minutes against the Lakers. He is a consistent player as far as daily fantasy is concerned, but will be there at probably a top-2 cost. During the regular season the worry with Curry is if their team is winning by too much, too early, because he won't play over 30 minutes in a given night with that scenario. In last season's campaign, Curry had 24 games in which he played less than 30 minutes a night, for rest or blow-out. So when you decide to pick him, make sure he's going to play and play against a team that'll give him a run for their money.
I think after a big-money deal, Draymond Green won't live up to the big contract he signed. I think people saw him in the playoffs exceed expectations and Golden State had to pay him. Last season, he only averaged 11.7 points, 3 assists, and 8 rebounds, and he comes with a very up and down nature as it pertains to statistics. 24 games last season, he averaged less than 10 points per contest, while in 15 games getting less than 25 minutes of action. For a guy who signed a 5-year, $85 million dollar deal, I think we'd look at a 15 and 10 stat line, rather than 11 and 8. For me, Green would've been better off landing with another team in free-agency, which would ultimately increase his fantasy value because this warriors team doesn't need to solely rely on him.
Harrison Barnes is surely going to receive a bigger role in this offense. With his athleticism, size, and skill set, Barnes fits what this team needs and he's in a contract year. I love fantasy production from players who are in a contract year! Barnes, still only 23, has been in the league for 3 seasons and continues to grow as a player. I believe his 28 minutes, 10 points, 5 rebounds, are set to move up to something like 31 minutes, 14 points, and 7 rebounds. Every season Harrison has been in the league his 3 point percentage has increased, his turnovers have gone down, and his rebounds have gone up. He's got a trajectory and at 23 and 3 seasons in, that is generally when we start to see huge growth and development in NBA players. Jimmy Butler is a great example of a guy in a contract year, similar situation, and he nearly doubled his season totals from his 3rd to 4th season. I am not saying Barnes will do that, but he is surely going to receive more time and more minutes, enough to get that big contract and outperform his old one.
They were the NBA champs last season, they were almost perfect and had a lot of great things go their way. In the Western Conference, they were gifted a conference finals match-up to what many thought were the 3rd best team in the west, in the Houston Rockets. They were also gifted with a Cavaliers team that had injuries up and down the roster. This season, it'll be hard for them to stay as healthy, as well as get the luck they did in the playoffs. But the team they've assembled is young, confident, and ready to play like they did last year. They were ranked an NBA best 1st in offense, and 15th in team defense. I expect the defense to stay similar and the offense to be somewhere in that 1st through 4th range in the league. I do see them performing close to as well as last season, reaching close to 60 games, but I think this is a team that'll probably move towards resting players down the stretch and have confidence they can win in the playoffs, rather than play for wins in the regular season. Overall, I see this team being great, there still my pick to make the NBA Finals, but if they get an injury watch out for a drop-off in win total.