Warriors still team to beat despite rivals' best efforts, say pundits




NBA: Preseason-Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden State Warriors
NBA: Preseason-Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden State Warriors  

By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) - LeBron James was one of many high-profile players who switched NBA teams during the offseason but all the roster shuffling will do little to cause the reigning champions Golden State Warriors to panic, TV pundits said on Monday.

ESPN NBA analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson, speaking on a conference call on the eve of the National Basketball Association's 2018-19 regular season, said despite the rest of the league's best efforts, the Warriors remain the team to beat.

"If you gave me a 'you can take the field or you can bet Golden State' option, I'd bet Golden State," said former NBA coach Van Gundy.

Since collecting their third championship in four years in June when they swept the James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in the best-of-seven NBA Final, the Warriors added four-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins to an already potent lineup.

Cousins tore his Achilles tendon in January and is not expected to return until midway through the season but when he does he will join a lineup that includes All-Stars Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

"If Golden State is into it, which they really weren't last year in the regular season and still won 58 games, but if they are into it they are by far the best team with the best talent and will win," said Van Gundy.

While the Cousins signing surprised many NBA observers, he was hardly the biggest name on the move.

Three-times NBA champion James decided to leave the Eastern Conference for the Los Angeles Lakers but has already said his new team, which have not made the playoffs since 2013, has "a long way to go" until they can challenge the Warriors.

The Houston Rockets, who had the NBA's best record last season but fell to the Warriors in the decisive seventh game of the Western Conference final, have since lost two key defenders and critics wonder how veteran Carmelo Anthony will fit in.

The San Antonio Spurs acquired four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for disgruntled Kawhi Leonard, a former NBA Finals MVP who played only nine games last season because of injury.

"I do think in this league anything can happen so there's some teams in the Western Conference, if clicking right, if healthy -- injuries plays a role not just for the Warriors but throughout this league, so that can play a part in it," said former coach and player Jackson.

"But the Warriors are the clear-cut favorite."

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

COMMENTS

More Related News

ESPN Hoops Analyst and Hall of Fame Honoree Doris Burke Blazes a Trail in Sportscasting
ESPN Hoops Analyst and Hall of Fame Honoree Doris Burke Blazes a Trail in Sportscasting

The Indiana Pacers are Hosting the Philadelphia 76ers on an early November evening at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. About a half hour before tip-off, a couple…

LeBron James into top five NBA scorers: Five quotes from league legends on his greatness
LeBron James into top five NBA scorers: Five quotes from league legends on his greatness

We take a look at how some NBA greats have described LeBron James, who passed Wilt Chamberlain for points.

Durant keeps details of Green spat
Durant keeps details of Green spat 'in-house' but envisages resolution

Draymond Green was suspended by the Warriors for "conduct detrimental to the team" and Kevin Durant was unwilling to give details.

Filipino-Canadian kid gets message from Steph Curry after NBA shared video of his hoop skills
Filipino-Canadian kid gets message from Steph Curry after NBA shared video of his hoop skills

Dreams do come true! One Filipino-Canadian kid became an overnight sensation when a video of him playing basketball was posted yesterday by the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Instagram. The post has become viral, and to top it off, NBA star Steph Curry also sent a special message of support

Former NBA star McGrady says Carmelo Anthony should retire
Former NBA star McGrady says Carmelo Anthony should retire

Houston Rockets veteran Carmelo Anthony should retire from the NBA, according to Tracy McGrady.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Basketball

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.