Tha Sports Junkies 101

Roll out the red carpet for the Warriors ? Or is it Too Early? Western Conference Breakdown

Warriors Patrick Boury via


Warriors in the Wild West.

Two-years ago during the 2014-2015  NBA season, the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games. The Warriors defeated a depleted Cavs team without guard Kyrie Irving and forward Kevin Love.

The Warriors seemed like they were destined for a repeat during the 2015-2016 NBA season. With the Cavs down 3-1, defeat seemed close. However, the Cavs pulled off an upset with the help of Warriors forward Draymond Green, and his WrestleMania audition during game five.

Also, former Warriors center Andrew Bogut going down due to injury didn’t help. After the 2015-2016 season the Warriors lost a majority of their bench. The warriors would lose Leandro Barbosa, Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli, and Marreese Speights.

Fast forward to the 2016-2017 NBA season. The Warriors acquired forward Kevin Durant. After shocking the world and hearing endless rants from ESPN Analyst Stephen A. Smith, it was set in stone, Durant is a Warrior.

Despite, winning the finals in dramatic fashion, the Cavs were still declared as the underdog. Between the Eastern and Western Conference, the road to the finals is never a given for teams in the Western Conference.

Will anyone dethrone the Warriors from the Western Conference throne?  

Half way through the season it seems that there may be an NBA finals rematch between the Cavs and Warriors.  There are two teams who may be able to challenge, and possibly, beat the Warriors in a seven game series. The two teams are the Memphis Grizzlies, and San Antonio Spurs.

Memphis Grizzlies

Now, before you go off the deep end think about this. Memphis have handed the first place 49-9 Warriors 2 of their 9 losses. The Grizzlies have a solid starting lineup and a guard in Mike Conley who can make Stephen Curry work on defense.

The Grizzlies have a solid inside and outside game starting with their center, Marc Gasol. Although their forward Zach Randolph comes off the bench, the off-season addition of Chandler Parsons helps spread the floor and provides a witty defender.

Also, the rotation between guards Tony Allen and Vince Carter will help provide offensive and defensive balance. Think about it, the Warriors bench is nowhere near as strong as last year’s bench.

When the Warriors faced adversity last year, the bench came to the rescue. Now, the bench is a weakness in addition to their weakened front court.

If the sixth place, 35-25, Grizzlies can stay healthy, they may be able to challenge the Warriors.

San Antonio Spurs

Fans and spectators last year thought that if any team could beat the Warriors, it would have been the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Spurs.

With the emotional loss of their former forward-Center Tim Duncan, the second place, 45-13, Spurs are still in position to compete for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. The Spurs kept most of their roster intact while adding new pieces such as Pau Gasol and David Lee.

The Spurs have a solid starting line up with guards Tony Parker and Danny Green. In addition to their strong backcourt, they have All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard. The Spurs also have a strong front court in forwards LaMarcus Aldridge and Gasol.

The factor that separates the Spurs from other teams is their bench play. Spurs coach Greg Popovich, has always prided himself in developing talent. While other teams are searching and willing to pay for bench play, Popovich has been developing talent courtesy of overseas and the D-League.

The Spurs have several important pieces on the bench including future hall of famer Manu Ginobili. The Spurs have guard Patty Mills who was instrumental in helping the Spurs win their 5th title in 2014.

In addition to Mills the Spurs have received key contributions from David Lee, Kyle Anderson, and emerging guard Johnathon Simmons.

Last Minute Thoughts

I understand some of you may have cussed, asked why, or what about the Houston Rockets. The Rockets would have been another choice. However, as brilliant as Rockets Coach Mike Dantoni is, teams do not win without defense.

What happens if James Harden fouls out or needs a breather in crucial game situations. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has done a great job of filling out the roster with players that complement All-Star guard Harden. However, is it enough to handle the Warriors and Spurs?

What happens when the Rockets go on a scoring drought? Will Harden stop passing and go into beast-mode?

With the season coming to a close who will come out of the wild wild west?