Don't Sleep On The Warriors

We've seen this story rewrite itself many times

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When the Golden State Warriors lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the playoffs last season, some common storylines arose.

Was this finally the end of the Warriors dynasty? Since Draymond Green was set to become a free agent, would he leave town and chase a ring elsewhere? Would the team engage in a high-profile trade and shake things up now that general manager Bob Myers decided to move on? Despite the fact that they won the Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2021-2022, was the championship window finally closed?

Well, Green re-signed with Golden State on a four-year, $100 million deal, the team acquired future Hall of Famer Chris Paul to become their sixth man and they re-tooled in the draft and free agency to run it back for at least another season with this core.

With a regular season win total of 48.5 (+100, FanDuel), +325 odds to win the Pacific Division (Caesars), +650 odds to win the West (Caesars) and +1400 odds to win the NBA Finals (FanDuel), this is a great time to get in on some Warriors futures if you believe in them. As you’ll read below, there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about this team in 2023-2024.

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When the Golden State Warriors lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the playoffs last season, some common storylines arose.

Was this finally the end of the Warriors dynasty? Since Draymond Green was set to become a free agent, would he leave town and chase a ring elsewhere? Would the team engage in a high-profile trade and shake things up now that general manager Bob Myers decided to move on? Despite the fact that they won the Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2021-2022, was the championship window finally closed?

Well, Green re-signed with Golden State on a four-year, $100 million deal, the team acquired future Hall of Famer Chris Paul to become their sixth man and they re-tooled in the draft and free agency to run it back for at least another season with this core.

With a regular season win total of 48.5 (+100, FanDuel), +325 odds to win the Pacific Division (Caesars), +650 odds to win the West (Caesars) and +1400 odds to win the NBA Finals (FanDuel), this is a great time to get in on some Warriors futures if you believe in them. As you’ll read below, there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about this team in 2023-2024.

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Road Improvement Is Necessary

Due in part to injuries and availability of key players, this Warriors squad was essentially two different teams based on setting.

At home, they posted the third-best overall record of 37-10 SU and had the best ATS record of 30-16-1. They had a 116.2 Offensive Rating and 108.4 Defensive Rating (+7.8 Net Rating) in those friendly confines.

Meanwhile, on the road, they posted the 5th-worst overall record of 12-35 SU and had the league’s worst ATS mark of 13-34 ATS. They had a 114.1 Offensive Rating and 118.3 Defensive Rating for a -4.2 Net Rating in that setting, which is pretty shocking.

A lack of cohesion and unreliable depth off their bench was likely the culprit, but if everyone is healthy this year, I don't think that'll happen again. Chalk that up to a freaky anomaly that'll be fun to look back on.

The Best NBA Starting Five

The starting five of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney was the best lineup that played over 300 minutes together (27 games, 331 minutes) in the last regular season. Not only was their 128.0 Offensive Rating better than any other 5-man lineup, but their 106.1 Defensive Rating was also the best. They had a ridiculous +21.9 Net Rating. At home, they had a +34.0 Net Rating, which is absolutely bonkers and obviously also led any other unit.

In the playoffs, that starting five had an 118.6 Offensive Rating and 97.7 Defensive Rating (+20.9 Net Rating) in 82 minutes over eight games, which showed that their dominance carried over to when it mattered most.

Translation: when this starting lineup is healthy and available, they’re the best in the league. And there’s no reason to expect regression, especially with Wiggins coming off his most efficient offensive season. Wiggins had a 116.2 individual Offensive Rating and shot a career-high 39.6% on three-point shots last season. Since he joined Golden State, they’re 22-13 with him in the playoffs and he’ll be an essential part of his club once again this season.

Overall, there's no reason to assume that this starting five won't be able to dominate once again this year.

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Re-Stocking The Bench

Last season, Golden State’s bench ranked 19th in Offensive Rating and 15th in Defensive Rating, essentially in the middle of the pack. However, they ranked 1st overall in True Shooting Percentage, which is a product of the system they play in but also offers some optimism moving forward. A clear goal this offseason was to solidify and re-stock the second unit with more options so that Steve Kerr can mix and match easily.

Most notably joining the squad is Paul, who will be an elite distributor in this motion offense that requires ball movement. Multi-dimensional forward Dario Saric and point guard Cory Joseph were also signed and will provide much-needed veteran depth. Rookies Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis were selected in the 2023 NBA Draft and the team should also benefit from another year of development from Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, Gary Payton II and Lester Quinones. 

If Kuminga and Moody in particular take the next steps of their development and Podziemski is able to produce right away at multiple positions, this second unit has the potential to be explosive.

From top to bottom, you can make the argument that this is the best roster in the NBA with more upside than any other team.

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How To Bet The Warriors

If I had to put my money on one team to win the NBA Finals right now, it’d be this team.

Therefore, I love targeting over their regular season win total of 48.5 (+100, FanDuel), getting on their +325 odds to win the Pacific Division (Caesars), hammering their +650 odds to win the West (Caesars) and getting +1400 odds to win the NBA Finals (FanDuel).

Not only will all of Golden State’s core continue to play with chips on their shoulders due to the media and fans continuously writing them off, but CP3’s addition creates even more urgency to get a future Hall of Famer the elusive Larry O’Brien Trophy that’s been eluding him throughout his storied career.

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