GM: Bob Myers
Head coach: Steve Kerr
2016-17 record: 67-15 (1st in the Western Conference)
2016-17 result: Won 4-1 in the NBA Finals
Key departures: Ian Clark
Key acquisitions: Nick Young, Omri Casspi
After securing their second NBA Championship in three years the Golden State Warriors won free agency, too.
They kept their nucleus intact by signing Kevin Durant for less than the max, agreeing to a two-year, $53 million deal. That created enough cap space for Golden State to re-sign David West, Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee, Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala. Stephen Curry also got his due, signing a five-year deal worth $201 million. They also added two more shooters in Nick Young and Omri Casspi in free agency.
The Warriors enter this season with enough support to continue their level of dominance, after posting the highest winning percentage (94.1) in league history on their way to the 2017 NBA title.
Potential Breakout Player
Even when surrounded by superstars, Patrick McCaw was able to show flashes as a rookie last year that made him look like a steal in the 2016 Draft. The former second-round pick made a name for himself as a threat on both ends, showing the composure of a veteran on his way to starting 20 games for the Warriors.
His best performance was in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, putting up an 18-point performance on 3-4 shooting from three, to go along with five assists and three steals. Standing at six-foot-seven with a six-foot-10 wingspan, he should continue to develop into a defensive force for the Warriors.
What a successful 2017-18 would look like
After becoming the first team in NBA history to post three straight seasons with at least 65 wins, it’s safe to think the Warriors aren’t worried about the 82-game slate that’s coming their way.
Klay Thompson has come out and said that the Warriors are aspiring to be like Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. While his team has already surpassed the illustrious mark of 72-10, they still want to win six championships in eight years, a feat the Bulls were able to accomplish in the ‘90s.
Therefore, a successful year for the Warriors would mean winning another Larry O’Brien Trophy. Plain and simple.
In order to maintain their place on top, the Warriors will need as much rest as possible until the playoffs come around, knowing they could be going against two new super teams in the Rockets and Thunder. That means the Warriors need to continue to blow their opponents off the court as soon as possible, like they did last year by averaging a league-high 59.2 points in the first half, which allowed their stars to play fewer minutes over the final two quarters.