It’s Still the Warriors as the Team to Catch Out West
For Golden State, 73 is irrelevant. Only one number matters, and it's 16.
The Warriors' chase of being the greatest team in NBA history last season fell short in a big way, when the team that posted the best regular-season record of all time blew a 3-1 lead in the finals and lost the title to Cleveland.
So entering this season, any talk of setting another win record — even after adding Kevin Durant — would be foolish. The only thing the Warriors are interested in is getting the 16 postseason wins that would secure a second championship in three years, and they'll again be the consensus pick to get out of the Western Conference for the third straight season.
"They're as good as it gets in the NBA," said new Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton, who most recently was a Warriors assistant.
Much of the look of the West has changed. Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett — all champions, all future Hall of Famers — are now all retired as well. And there's new coaches in Sacramento (Dave Joerger), Memphis (David Fizdale), Minnesota (Tom Thibodeau) and Houston (Mike D'Antoni), along with Walton taking over for the Lakers.
But the targets in the West, they remain the same. It's still the Warriors, then San Antonio, and from there it might be anyone's guess.
Surprises last season, the Blazers won't surprise anyone this time around. All-Star snub victim Damian Lillard is among the elite.