The Warriors proved many doubters wrong last season when they won the NBA Championship for the fourth time in eight seasons.
The Big Three showed to Steph Curry, Clay Thompson and Draymond Green in the Golden State that not only are the Dynasty Warriors alive and well, but they’re also not going anywhere soon.
However, as the Warriors look to repeat, they are back in the same position as last year as they are once again being questioned and ignored.
This time, from an NBA general manager who rather than have high hopes for the defending champions, was shocked to star by a team that had never won a conference title in its 53-year history.
“The Clippers are the team to beat,” the Western Conference general manager said in a FOX Sports poll. “I don’t even think the Golden State is in its class. Clippers have a lot of depth. I admire the behavior of warriors he can do. But they sat everyone down for two years and then won the battle of attrition. I don’t. I know they will be able to continue this time.” .
Certainly, the hopes of cascade warriors are not the best start.
Golden State starts 3-4 into the 2022-23 NBA season and a win-free record on the road doesn’t exactly scream “champions.” The last time the Warriors opened a season with three straight losses on the road was the 2011-12 shortened season, where they finished 23-43.
But the Clippers (3-4) stand on exactly the same record on Tuesday, which is ridiculous enough to build the team’s future in less than 10 games early in the season.
“I don’t think they care about the regular season,” said one Eastern Scout. “I don’t expect them to have a great record in the regular season. It’s all about getting all of their players ready for the playoffs.”
Los Angeles superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George playing behind a championship-caliber coach at Tyronn Lue is a big reason why NBA scouts, coaches, and coaches are leaning toward the Clippers this season.
Although George has not played more than 54 games since the 2018-2019 season, and Leonard has not played more than 60 games since the 2016-2017 season, the confidence in the Clippers this year is due to their depth. Since the last postseason two seasons ago, Los Angeles has added John Wall, Norm Powell and Robert Covington.
Those expecting a wobble for the Warriors this year are also anticipating a dip because the team that won last season is not the same team this season. Golden State hopes that some of its youngsters like Moses Moody and James Wiseman can fill that void.
But opposition scouts aren’t sure that can happen.
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“I understand why they let their veteran players off the bench go and made a big bet [Jonathan] An Eastern Conference scout said Kuminga, Moody and Wiseman “Modi is probably fine and can pick up some minutes the equivalent players played last year. Kuminga is not good and can only be used for situations and so, depending on matches, it might be Otto Porter or Gary downgrading.” Payton to him is a problem.
“Wiseman is not very good at all and to the extent that they are not going to play any really important game, it could impair their ability to win.”
For the Warriors to have any chance of returning to the NBA Finals, another Eastern Conference explorer thinks it will take one thing.
“Weizmann or Cominga should have a year in Jordan, it should break out,” the scout said. “Neither of them played basketball in college and they were thrown into the best team in the NBA. A group of guys who all know how to play and cut and are smart.”
The Warriors will host the Clippers at the end of this month in what could be a Western Conference Finals preview.
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