DAR Sports: Can The Golden State Dynasty Be Stopped?

By @TrueGodImmortal

So, with the news ringing loudly in NBA Free Agency, and the inevitable feeling beginning to set in, many people have already crowned the Golden State Warriors the 2018-2019 NBA Champions, much like they did in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, and of course, both of those titles came home to The Bay. This time however, it feels different. After a tough road brought the Dubs back to back championships, they decided to say fuck the competition and added a huge piece that just might fit in perfectly with them in DeMarcus Cousins, who is the best Center in the game to a number of experts, fans, and analysts. Perhaps, Joe Lacob and Bob Myers aren't playing fair. Perhaps the Warriors want an easier path and road to another title. Or, perhaps they just know that they don't have to appease fans that aren't their own and can do what they wish. As an organization, your mission is to win, not help the competition, and it seems as if the Warriors just sat back and watched the free agency moves and said "checkmate" with the addition of Boogie to the fold. Now, there is no guarantee that Boogie would actually be able to come back and be nearly as productive as he was in his last few years after a severe Achillies injury, but the truth is, the Warriors don't really need him. They had something going well with their rotation of players like Javale McGee, David West, and Kevon Looney, but if you had the chance to sign perhaps the best Center in the game for the mid level, I'm sure you would jump at that chance too, right?

Of course you would. No team in their right mind would pass on a proven Center who can give you 25 and 15 any given night, shoot the three, and when engaged, can defend at a decent level.... unless of course you are the Lakers. While the injury that Cousins suffered is serious and could alter him for the rest of his career, passing up the opportunity to at least see what he can do on the court for the team is not wise, because if Boogie comes back and rehabs well, then his future is bright for sure. You might wonder what made the decision for Boogie a done deal, but what I just mentioned is a huge reason for that. Sure, Boogie wants to come back and be healthy and at his best, but if it is a struggle out of the gate, then perhaps he has the liberty and luxury of having a team that is honestly much higher than any other in the NBA to help him through that. With a wonderful culture and an amazing mindset as a team, the Warriors have set themselves up for something special this coming season. If Boogie returns by Christmas or January and is close to the player he used to be, you might as well cancel the playoffs. A motivated Boogie, alongside KD, Steph, Draymond, and Klay on the same court? That's going to be a nightmare for any team. On paper, that might actually be the greatest starting 5 ever assembled. 

You have the best point guard in the league, one of the most deadly and one of the best shooting guards in the league, arguably the best Small Forward (at very worst, Durant is no. 2) in the game, along with perhaps a top 3-5 Power Forward who is one of the best defensive players of this entire era, and now adding in one of the best offensive Centers, a weakness which the Warriors never seemed to be able to fix.... until now. On a bad night, Boogie might get you 20 and 10, but not be fully engaged and that's something that the Warriors would likely need. It takes a bit of the pressure off of KD and Draymond in terms of their minutes and how much they would need to do on the court as well. This Boogie to Golden State move is beneficial on both ends tremendously, and it begs the question of whether or not anyone can stop this team as they continue to grow and get better.
If you asked me, I say as long as the key pieces of the Warriors stay together, they'll likely win another title or two, maybe three. The reasoning is simple. As we saw this year, the Warriors are no stranger to adversity and the injury bug. However, when they are fully healthy, they are damn near unstoppable. Last season was a year where they didn't look quite as unstoppable as before, but when they were clicking, it was a scary sight. You can expect more of that this coming season for a few reasons. The Warriors have a scoring Center who can rebound the ball and when focused, can engage at the rim and protect it as well, and that is dangerous for everyone in the league. On top of the Boogie signing, the Warriors are witnessing some amazing growth from Jordan Bell, who seems to have developed a jumper this offseason. So, if Jordan Bell can hit shots from 23 feet and do that regularly, he is quite possibly the most dangerous piece on the Warriors bench overall. His jumper has a great form, his defense is superb, and he can score at the rim with relative ease. When he is engaged and focused, he is seen as a more athletic younger Draymond, and the thought of this is scary. A high IQ player with athletic ability to defend at the rim, score in the post, and shoot well? On a team that has Klay Thompson, Steph Curry, Draymond, and Kevin Durant, that is just unfair. Not to mention, the Warriors have a roster full of guys like Quinn Cook, who can play both ends pretty well, and of course their veterans like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, who are true champions after the first 4 years of the Dynasty. One might wonder what could stop this team, and the answer to that is simple:


The Warriors and their arrogance are something that many have been turned off by, but it is one of the reasons I find them so much fun to watch. This is a team that demoralized the opposition in seconds on the court and you'll get their most important player hitting a shimmy on you after draining a 27 foot three, or their best defensive player blocking your shot and talking shit to you as you try to regroup. While this is fun to watch, the reality is, the Warriors do allow the spoils of their success to cultivate their minds and make them lazy.

So with their roster restocked, the free agency big moves over, and everything in place for the most part..... can this Warriors dynasty come to an end this coming season? The answer? No. Not at all. If the season could go on and everyone remains healthy, I have news for you: another championship banner will be headed their way. Why? Well, who can stop them? Would the Denver Nuggets be a threat to this team? Probably not. How about the currently at odds Minnesota Timberwolves team? Probably not. Will the Warriors likely walk all over teams like the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, and probably the Dallas Mavericks? Absolutely. Will they make easy work of the Portland Trailblazers? Definitely. The Spurs with no Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker, and other pieces on the roster have no shot at beating the Warriors, let alone making the playoffs comfortably. 
Can the Utah Jazz stop them in a 7 game series? I doubt it. The Anthony Davis led Pelicans could make a little noise, and with Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton added, perhaps that youth could make a difference, but the loss of DeMarcus Cousins and Rondo will prove to be tougher than expected, so no, I don't see them as a contender either. So, that brings us to perhaps the upper tier of the Western Conference... or at least the teams who seem to be competitive enough at the moment, right? Well, not exactly.

So, LeBron James joins the Los Angeles Lakers, who seem to be building a foundation to help the young guys grow and will bring in veterans who seem to have an understanding of the game. However, some of these signings for the Lakers outside of LeBron do make you scratch your head a little. While the idea was to get guys that aren't afraid of LeBron, it does beg the question of whether or not this is an ideal fit. Javale McGee, Lance Stephenson, and an aging Rajon Rondo do not exactly scream out "championship team" when paired with KCP, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart, but perhaps the IQ of Rondo and these younger guys having the desire to get better will fuel a change of culture in LA. Or maybe not. Learning to play with LeBron is honestly going to be a huge adjustment and perhaps Luke Walton and Bron will have issues, as most coaches seem to have with Bron in the later stages of his career. Maybe, just maybe, Bron coming to LA is about playing with less pressure on himself and he's accepted that the window for him winning more titles is closing. His best shot as he enters year 16 is to work with younger guys who can be a primary ball handler as well, and if that does happen, perhaps Bron can become more deadly on the defensive end again.... or not. See, the reason why the Lakers are not an instant threat despite signing Bron is mostly due to the fact that they will undergo a major change in culture and style with him on the team and while their defensive prowess as a team was solid last year, adding in some of these players and Bron, who was not the most engaged defender at all the last two seasons, maybe longer doesn't necessarily make them a dangerous team. Contrary to the belief of delusional fans, Bron has had plenty of help during the last 8 seasons, and with stacked rosters every time around, he has had decent success, so the concept of playing with a lot of talents still in development and a bunch of players who are inconsistent seems like a recipe for disaster, especially in terms of things that occur off the court and behind the scenes. Could the Lakers rise above any possible volatile issues to become the second best team in the West? Can they dethrone the Warriors? Not yet. Will they dethrone the Warriors in the future? I really can't say. The hope for the Lakers will rest in their 2019-2020 moves and perhaps a stroke of luck for 2020-2021. We shall see.

So, outside of the Lakers, who could become a true threat to the Warriors in the West? Surely, the Houston Rockets will have the best shot at dethroning the Warriors this time around.... right? Well, let's check their offseason moves. For one, the Warriors brought in Boogie Cousins, who has had success on the court in terms of dominating against the Rockets, and they brought back Kevon Looney who had an impact defensively against them as well. They also added a solid shooter in Jerebko, who could provide a small scoring punch alongside Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and Quinn Cook. What did the Rockets do this offseason? They lost Trevor Ariza, their best wing defender. They also perhaps their second or third best defender on the team in Luc Mbah A Moute, who was never the same after his shoulder injury, but before that, he was a key piece in their regular season and to their defense. So, with losing two pieces on defense, surely the Rockets would need to add great defenders in place of them, right? Well.... so far, they have added Michael Carter Williams and are in the running to sign Carmelo Anthony when he either gets bought out by the Thunder or perhaps traded. So, you lose Ariza and Mbah A Moute, and bring in MCW and washed Carmelo with a coach who left a team because of him before.... yeah, their contender status is definitely going to take a hit. Melo will be inserted surely into the 3 spot that Ariza leaves open now, and while Clint Capela hasn't signed any deal yet, if he does elect to return this coming season, the spacing and defense of a CP3-Harden-Melo-PJ-Capela unit isn't as pretty as one would think. The loss of Ariza also takes away the smaller ball lineup that was effective for Houston as well and Ariza was one of the better defenders against the Warriors last season. So, on all accounts, the Rockets have a Center who might be disgruntled due to their unwillingness to pay what he thinks he is owed, and they are looking to add two pieces that do very little to make them better. Plus, every player that is still on this team is older, Harden has finally obtained his MVP award, and CP3 has finally got rid of the Conference Finals jokes. Will their motivation be the same? Will their focus be the same? I predict Houston could either be the 2nd or 3rd seed this year, but it is possible they see a drop and actually finish 4th or maybe even 5th in the West. Is it likely they fall that far? No, but the unique success they had last year will certainly drop off a little bit with the key losses to their defense and overall bottom line. So, the Lakers and the Rockets don't pose a SERIOUS threat going into this season, so what about the rest of the West and the East?

So, could the Oklahoma City Thunder be a dangerous threat to the Golden State Warriors? Surprisingly, all jokes aside, they just might be the most deadly target in the West against the Warriors. Will they win a 7 game series? Unlikely, but without Melo on the floor, the Thunder have a chance to see exactly what Russell Westbrook and Paul George can do together. One can only imagine what Paul George signing for 4 years in OKC will do for them going forward and perhaps this two man tandem will be able to surprise people. That and the return of Andre Roberson, who was a pivotal defender and a large piece of their top ranked defense last season, could really make them tougher than expected. Throw in Steven Adams and you have a solid team that on paper could go from being a 4th seed like they were last year to a 2nd or 3rd seed in the West. Everything is of course dependent on things falling into place and I'm speaking on everything from the perspective of no longterm serious injuries, so if everyone stays moderately healthy all year, I predict the Thunder will actually be a solid team in the West and better than they were last year. I think Russ and PG working off of each other and their relationship make them more deadly than they were with Melo, who is in the final stage of his career. Will OKC be the new challenger for the WCF? Will the Lakers dethrone the Warriors? Can the Rockets pull it off?

All of those look bleak.

So, the question is, can someone in the East put a stop to the Warriors? Is there an avenue for the 76ers to acquire Kawhi Leonard and make themselves a contender? Yes. Will it be enough to beat the Warriors in the Finals? Probably not. Will it even be enough to take out the biggest threat to another Warriors championship in the East? You never know. So, as the rosters stand now, the team with the biggest chance in the East is the Boston Celtics, as long as they remain healthy. They were one game away from the NBA Finals, and they were without their two best players. Could it be possible that the Celtics knock off the Warriors this season with a healthy Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving? While I have a belief that it is possible, something leads me to believe that the Warriors have the right system and the firepower to sustain this young Celtics team. So, with all of the options listed, the only serious threat seems to be the Celtics, if healthy. Everything is dependent on health. At least for the next season. If the Warriors can avoid the injuries they dealt with last season, and remain healthy in the playoffs, with or without DeMarcus Cousins, they were likely to win another title. Adding him just makes it a little more obvious. The fear shouldn't be whether or not the Warriors can be stopped by another team, but whether or not the Warriors stop themselves from becoming the greatest dynasty ever. What happens in 2019-2020, when Iguodala and Livingston's contracts are up? What about having to sign back KD and Klay next offseason? What about Draymond and his contract? What happens if Boogie wants to stay in The Bay? What happens if Jordan Bell continues to grow and can get more money elsewhere? All of these questions shall be answered..... but not this coming season. For now, the Warriors are firmly the favorites to win the next championship, and if they can retain Jordan Bell, KD, Klay, Draymond, and maybe even Boogie Cousins for another year or so, they might be looking at another two or three titles after that. Is the NBA ruined? No, the NBA thrives off dynasties and teams that dominate, plus you would watch just to see if another team could pull it off and defeat them anyway. So, with that, can this Golden State dynasty be stopped in 2018-2019? Chances are very slim. Can they be stopped in the years after that? That is very possible, but it would come more from their own organizational issues than another team. That is the harsh reality of this team and this dynasty. The world is theirs.......for now. If you don't want it to be this way, then the answer is simple: get better.



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