Connect with us


NBA PM: 50 Predictions Revisited

Back in October, Joel Brigham made 50 predictions for the 2013-14 NBA season. Let’s see how he fared…

Joel Brigham



Once upon a time, long, long ago, before Basketball Insiders even existed, I wrote 50 predictions for the 2013-14 NBA season with high hope that this would be the year that I’d get an overwhelming majority of them correct. Usually I score somewhere in the 25-30 range, mostly because I try to make the predictions challenging enough where they aren’t just layups to pad my stats, but this year was pretty remarkable.

Just not in a good way.

My only consolation is that I’m one of the only analysts in the business who makes this many preseason predictions and then actually revisits them at the end of the season to see how well I did. All of these were made a couple days before the preseason started, so try and put yourself back that far and remember how you thought the year would go. My guess is you probably would’ve done just as bad as me this season.

Okay, so maybe not as bad as me, but yours wouldn’t have been pretty either. In any event, here are my 50 predictions revisited. Shield your eyes, and don’t let your children view the horror:

Individual Predictions

1. Kevin Durant will reclaim the scoring title this year, but will average fewer than 30 PPG.

WRONG: Durant did lead the league in scoring, but he did so averaging a massive 32 PPG. Half point for the scoring title because things are about to get pretty ugly in this article.

2. Durant will also lead the league in turnovers.

WRONG: John Wall led the league with 295 turnovers. Durant finished third with 285.

3. DeMarcus Cousins will average a career-high in rebounds per game (over 11 RPG) and finish in the top five in the league in that category.

RIGHT: Cousins averaged a career-high 11.7 RPG this season, the fifth-best average in the league.

4. JaVale McGee will lead the league in blocks per game.

WRONG: McGee only played in five games this year, but his 1.4 BPG during that time would’ve placed him 16th among his contemporaries.

5. Ricky Rubio will lead the league in steals per game.

WRONG: Rubio finished second in the league with 2.32 SPG, a scant .16 behind league-leader Chris Paul.

6. LeBron James will win his fifth MVP trophy in six years, while leading the league in both PER and win shares.

WRONG: James finished second in PER, win shares and MVP voting (thanks a lot, Kevin Durant).

7. Stephen Curry will be fantastic when he’s on the floor, but he will play fewer than 60 games this season.

WRONG: Curry had a breakout season and played in 78 games. But wait, it gets worse…

8. Andrew Bynum, meanwhile, will play more than 60 games in his first year with Cleveland.

WRONG: Anybody else just throw up in their mouth a little bit?

9. Andre Drummond will increase his scoring and rebounding by at least 25% this season.

RIGHT: Drummond went from 7.9 PPG and 7.6 RPG his rookie season to 13.5 PPG and 13.2 RPG during his sophomore campaign.

10. Despite all the All-Star talent, nobody on the Brooklyn Nets will average 18 PPG or higher.

RIGHT: While Brook Lopez averaged 20.7 PPG, he only played in 17 games, so he doesn’t qualify. Otherwise, Joe Johnson led the team with 15.8 PPG this season.

11. O.J. Mayo will finish in the top 10 in the league in points per game.

WRONG: It seemed like a good idea at the time. With 11.7 PPG, Mayo finished the season right around 105th in the league in points per game.

12. Jimmy Butler will be named the Most Improved Player.

WRONG: Butler had a good year, but not Goran Dragic good.

13. Roy Hibbert will be named the Defensive Player of the Year.

WRONG: If the season would have ended at the All-Star break, I would’ve nailed this one, but Hibbert completely fell apart the last third of the year, just like the rest of the Pacers.

14. Two or fewer players on this year’s All-Star teams will make it in as first-timers.

WRONG: I was thinking Stephen Curry and Anthony Davis, and I was right. I was wrong, however, about Damian Lillard, John Wall, Paul Millsap and DeMar DeRozan.

15. Stephen Curry will be one of them.

RIGHT: Like I said, I was thinking Stephen Curry.

Team Predictions

16. The Chicago Bulls will have the best regular season record in the league.

WRONG: This came at a time when I thought Derrick Rose would be playing a full season. The way Tom Thibodeau treats the regular season, this was a reasonable prediction at the time. Rose’s injury killed this one, though.

17. The Philadelphia 76ers will have the worst regular season record.

WRONG: Not that they didn’t try. Milwaukee’s bad season was a tough one to top.

18. The New York Knicks, who won 54 games last season, will win no more than 46 games in 2013-14.

RIGHT: I didn’t think they’d drop to 37 wins, but needless to say I was correct in expecting some sort of significant drop-off for New York.

19. The Charlotte Bobcats will win at least eight more games than they did a year ago.

RIGHT: The Bobcats were lottery-bound a year ago, winning only 21 games, and they more than doubled that in 2013-14, winning 43 and making the playoffs for only the second time in franchise history.

20. Denver’s winning percentage will drop .150 or more points this year.

RIGHT: Denver was another team to experience a precipitous drop this season, sliding from .695 in 2012-13 to .439 this past season. That’s a .256 fall. Yikes.

21. The Miami HEAT will once again boast the best home record in the NBA.

WRONG: They didn’t even have the best home record in the Eastern Conference.

22. The Houston Rockets will lead the league in team points per game.

RIGHT: Easily, with 112 PPG. The Clippers came in second at “only” 108.8 PPG.

23. The Indiana Pacers will once again lead the league in team rebounds.

WRONG: Actually, the Rockets led the league in this category this year, as well, with 49.2 boards per game. Indiana finished 13th with 39.5 RPG.

24. The L.A. Clippers will lead the league in three-pointers made per game.

WRONG: L.A. finished in the top four, but the Atlanta Hawks led the league with an impressive 11.3 three-pointers per game. Didn’t see that one coming, Kyle Korver and all.

25. The Denver Nuggets will lead the league in team turnovers.

WRONG: This one went to the Golden State Warriors, who couldn’t have possibly been as explosive as they were this past season without making quite a few mistakes; 17.3 mistakes per game, actually.

Playoff Predictions

26. The Memphis Grizzlies will not have homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

RIGHT: The Grizzlies entered this year’s playoffs as a seven-seed, despite a strong finish to the season. The Western Conference was a tough place to live this year.

27. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, both of whom missed the Eastern Conference playoffs last year, will both make the postseason this year.

WRONG: Half a point for Toronto, and to be fair, Cleveland was very disappointing.

28. The Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards, despite preseason rumblings that they would both be playoff teams, will miss out.

WRONG: Another half a point for Detroit, but the Wizards were a lot better than I apparently thought they were going to be.

29. The L.A. Lakers will make the playoffs, but will not enter them with a seed higher than seven.

WRONG: Again, this was made before I knew Kobe Bryant would be down for the count. I had assumed he’d will the Lakers into the postseason, all on his own. He couldn’t even will himself onto the court for more than a handful of games, unfortunately.

30. New Orleans will also make the playoffs in their first season as the Pelicans.

WRONG: I repeat—the Western Conference was a tough place to live this year.

31. The L.A. Clippers will be the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

WRONG: They fell about five games short of that, but San Antonio had an epic season from start to finish. Not much you can do in a year like that, and let’s face it, even though they’re never the sexy preseason pick, they almost always end up proving everybody wrong.

32. The Miami HEAT will not make it back to the NBA Finals this year.

WRONG: Because it’s always smart to bet against LeBron James.

33. Nor will the San Antonio Spurs.

WRONG: Sigh.

34. The Chicago Bulls will win the NBA championship. Not a homer pick. Totally objective. Scout’s honor.

WRONG: This is bordering on absurd at this point.

Rookie Predictions

35. Victor Oladipo will win Rookie of the Year.

WRONG: Reasonable guess, but the best he could was finish second in voting behind Michael Carter-Williams, who I honestly did not think would be as good as he was.

36. Anthony Bennett will be in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ starting lineup by the end of the season.

WRONG: I’m not even sure what the point is of finishing the article at this point.

37. Michael Carter-Williams will lead the league in turnovers.

WRONG: He finished tied for fifth, behind Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry, James Harden and John Wall.

38. Alex Len will make the All-Rookie First Team.

WRONG: Alex who?

39. Cody Zeller will lead all rookies in rebounds.

WRONG: Zeller finished third in this category, behind Carter-Williams and Kelly Olynyk.

Transaction Predictions

40. Rajon Rondo, very likely the subject of more trade rumors than any other player, will not be moved from the Boston Celtics this year. He’ll finish the year in Beantown.

RIGHT: For now, he’s still a Boston Celtic, not that it helped them much last year to get him back.

41. The Chicago Bulls also will not trade Luol Deng at any point this season.

WRONG: I never thought they’d do it, but they most assuredly did, and they really weren’t too much worse off because of it. Remember, though, I predicted this back when I thought Rose would play the full season. Didn’t think they’d make a cap cut if they thought there was a shot at winning a championship.

42. The Denver Nuggets will at some point make a relatively splashy trade involving at least Andre Miller and perhaps more players.

RIGHT: I didn’t predict things going so far south for Miller in Denver, but by season’s end he was a Washington Wizard.

43. The Houston Rockets will at some point trade Omer Asik.

WRONG: They should have, but they did not. They still should, honestly, and still may.

44. While it’s likely true that the Indiana Pacers will explore trading Danny Granger, they will not be able to find a capable suitor and will keep him through the season and just take the cap space his expiring contract will create at season’s end.

WRONG: They’ll still ended up with the cap space, but only because the trade they made with Philly was for restricted free agents that they have no intention of re-signing.

45. Orlando will trade Jameer Nelson, the oldest player on a rebuilding team, before the end of the season.

WRONG: They certainly tried, but ultimately couldn’t find the value they were seeking for him.

46. The Phoenix Suns will trade center Marcin Gortat before the deadline, as well.

RIGHT: They traded him before the season even started, and I’ve got to admit that when this one went down, I thought I was going to go 50-for-50 this year. That optimism has been completely shattered in the many months since.

Miscellaneous Predictions

47. The Philadelphia 76ers will have a ton of ping pong balls in this spring’s lottery, but they will not earn the top overall selection.

RIGHT: They did have a ton of ping pong balls, but Cleveland ultimately won the lottery, surprising everybody.

48. The Utah Jazz will be awarded the No. 1 overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft. Welcome to Utah, Andrew Wiggins!

WRONG: One of these years I’m going to guess the lottery winner correctly, and we’re all going to throw a big party. No big party this summer, though. Certainly no big party for the Utah Jazz, who, let’s face it, would be taking Jabari Parker over Wiggins if they actually did have the No. 1 pick.

49. The Charlotte Hornets will use teal in their new color scheme.

RIGHT: Of course they’re using teal in their new color scheme!

50. And for my layup prediction, which I make every year: the Chicago Bulls will lead the league in attendance.

RIGHT: This was cheating because the Bulls always lead the league in attendance, but as it turns out, I really needed the extra point.

So what’s the damage? Including half points, I ended up getting 16.5 right out of 50 this year, easily my worst total in the seven years I’ve been writing this column.

Revisiting these predictions isn’t about seeing how right I was, though; it’s more about returning back to the beginning of the season and seeing how differently we all thought things would pan out. Time has shown that a lot of my preseason rumblings were wrong, but what else is new? The unpredictability of sports is what makes them fun.

The good news is that I haven’t been so shattered as to avoid doing this again next season. I’ll be back in October, doing the whole thing all over again.




  1. Pingback: Putlocker The Last 5 Years 2014 Full Movie Movie Update

  2. Pingback: HD The Last 5 Years 2014 Full Movie Download Movie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Emeka Okafor Impacting 2018 Western Conference Playoff Race

Sidelined for several years with a neck injury, Emeka Okafor is back in the NBA and helping the Pelicans fight for a playoff seed.

Jesse Blancarte



When DeMarcus Cousins ruptured his Achilles tendon, most people in and around the league assumed the New Orleans Pelicans would eventually fall out of the Western Conference Playoff race. It was a fair assumption. In 48 games this season, Cousins averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks while shooting 47 percent from the field and 35.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Anthony Davis and the Pelicans had other plans. Davis put the team on his shoulders, played at an elite level and, arguably, has forced his way into the MVP race. Behind Davis’ efforts, the Pelicans are currently 39-29, have won 7 of their last 10 games and hold the sixth seed in the Western Conference.

While Davis has been carrying the team since the loss of Cousins, he has received significant help from his teammates, including Emeka Okafor.

More recent NBA fans may be less familiar with Okafor since he has been out of the league since the end of the 2012-13 season. For context, in Okafor’s last season, David Lee led the league in double-doubles, Luol Deng led the league in minutes per game and Joakim Noah made the NBA All-Defensive First Team. However, Okafor entered the NBA with a lot of excited and expectations. He was drafted second overall, right behind Dwight Howard. Okafor played in 9 relatively successful NBA seasons until being sidelined indefinitely with a herniated disc in his neck prior to the start of the 2013-14 season.

Okafor was medically cleared to play in May of last year and played in five preseason games with the Philadelphia 76ers but was ultimately waived in October, prior to the start of the regular season. However, with the injury to Cousins, the Pelicans were in need of help at the center position and signed Okafor to a 10-day contract. Okafor earned a second 10-day contract and ultimately landed a contract for the rest of this season.

Okafor has played in 14 games so far for the Pelicans has is receiving limited playing time thus far. Despite the lack of playing time, Okafor is making his presence felt when he is on the court. Known as a defensive specialist, Okafor has provided some much needed rim protection and has rebounded effectively as well.

He has been [helpful] since the day he got here,” Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry said about Okafor after New Orleans’ recent victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. “I think his rim protection has been great. But, he’s capable of making a little jump shot and you can see that today. But just having him in there, his presence there has been great.”

Okafor has never been known as an elite offensive player, but he did average 15.1 points per game in his rookie season and has shown glimpses of an improved jump shot in his limited run with the Pelicans.

“You know, I’m happy it’s falling,” Okafor said after he helped seal the victory over the Clippers. “Kept in my back pocket. I was invoked to use it, so figured I’d dust it off and show it.”

Okafor was then asked if he has any other moves in his back pocket that he hasn’t displayed so far this season.

“A little bit. I don’t want to give it all,” Okafor told Basketball Insiders. “There’s a couple shots still. But we’ll see what opportunities unveil themselves coming forward.”

Okafor will never have the elite offensive skill set that Cousins has but his overall contributions have had a positive impact for a New Orleans squad that was desperate for additional production after Cousin’s Achilles tear.

“It’s impossible to replace a guy that was playing at an MVP level,” Gentry said recently. “For us, Emeka’s giving us something that we desperately missed with Cousins. The same thing with Niko. Niko’s given us something as far as spacing the floor. Between those guys, they’ve done the best they could to fill in for that. But we didn’t expect anyone to fill in and replace what Cousins was doing for us.”

Okafor is currently averaging 6.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 54.5 percent from the field. While his averages don’t jump off the page, it should be noted that his per minute production is surprisingly impressive. Per 36 minutes, Okafor is averaging 13.4 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.9 blocks. Those numbers are nearly identical to his averages from the 2012-13 season, though he is averaging twice as many blocks (up from 1.4).

The Pelicans have exceeded expectations and currently are ahead of teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers in the extremely tight Western Conference Playoff race. Okafor is doing more than could have reasonably been expected when he first signed with the Pelicans, though he would be the first person to pass the credit toward Anthony Davis.

When asked about Davis’ recent play, Okafor enthusiastically heaped praise toward his superstar teammate.

“It’s to the point where it’s like, ‘Alright, he has 40 doesn’t he?’ It’s impressive,” Okafor said about Davis. But it’s becoming so commonplace now.

He’s just an impressive individual. He gives it all. He’s relentless. And then off the court too, he’s a very, very nice kid. He really takes the leadership role seriously. I’m even more impressed with that part.”

There is still plenty of regular season basketball to be played and even a two-game losing streak can drastic consequences. But the Pelicans have proved to be very resilient and Okafor is confident in the team’s potential and outlook.

“I think we’re all hitting a good grove here and we’re playing very good basketball, said Okafor.”

Whether the Pelicans make the playoffs or not, it’s great to see Okafor back in the NBA and playing meaningful minutes for a team in the playoff race.

Continue Reading


NBA Daily: Nothing’s Promised, Not Even For The Warriors

The Warriors are wounded, and with Chris Paul, the Rockets may be equipped to take advantage.

Moke Hamilton



The Warriors are wounded, and for those that thought their waltzing into a four consecutive NBA Finals was a given, the Houston Rockets may have other ideas. Especially when one considers that the beloved Dubs are trying to buck history.

Steph Curry has ankle problems, Klay has a fractured thumb and Kevin Durant—the most recent of the team’s lynchpins to find himself on the disabled list—has a rib injury.

Sure, the Dubs might shake off their injuries and find themselves at or near 100 percent once the playoffs begin, but seldom do teams in the NBA get healthier as the year progresses.

Winning in the NBA is difficult. In order to take all the marbles, teams need a bunch of different ingredients, chief among them are good fortune and health. And in many ways, the two are entwined.

Simply put: the human body isn’t built to play as often and as hard as NBA players do. Those that we recognize as being among the greatest ever—Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James among them—had one thing in common. They were all exceptionally durable.

Over the years, we’ve seen attrition and fragility cost the likes of Anfernee Hardaway, Yao Ming and Derrick Rose what seemed to be careers full of accolades and accomplishments. And the simple truth is that you never know which player, players or teams will be next to be undercut by injuries and progressive fatigue.

Just to keep things in perspective, the Warriors are attempting to become just the fifth team since 1970 to win at least three NBA championships in a four-year span.

The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Finals in 1985, 1987 and 1988 before Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls completed their three-peat from 1991-93. The Bulls would again do the same between 1996 and 1998, and Shaquille O’Neal and his Los Angeles Lakers accomplished the same from 2000 to 2002.

There are reasons why so few teams have been able to win as frequently as the Lakers and Bulls have, and health is certainly one of them. That’s especially interesting to note considering the fact that the Warriors may have been champions in 2016 had they had their team at full strength. Mind you, both Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala were severely limited in their abilities, while Andrew Bogut missed the fateful and decisive Game 6 and Game 7 of those Finals with injuries to his left leg.

At the end of the day, injuries are a part of the game. The best teams are often able to overcome them, while the luckiest teams often don’t have to deal with them. To this point, the Warriors have been both the best and incredibly lucky, but at a certain point, the sheer volume of basketball games is likely to have an adverse effect on at least a few members of the team.

We may be seeing that now.

En route to winning the 2015 NBA Finals, the Warriors turned in a playoff record of 16-5. In 2016, they were 15-9 and in 2017, they were 16-1. In total, the 62 playoff games would have worn a bit of tread off of their collective tires, just as their 73-9 regular season record may have.  In becoming a historically great team, the Warriors have expending the energy necessary of a team wishing to remain a contender, and that’s not easy.

As an aside, those that understand the difficulty in competing at a high level every single night are the ones who rightfully give LeBron James the respect he’s due for even having the opportunity to play into June eight consecutive years. Win or lose, in terms of consistent effort and constant production, James has shown as things we’ve never seen before.

Today, it’s fair to wonder whether the Warriors have that same capability.

We’ll find out in short order.

* * * * * *

As the Houston Rockets appear headed toward ending the Warriors’ regular season reign atop the Western Conference, there’s something awfully coincidental about the fact that the team seems to have taken the next step after the addition of Chris Paul.

Paul knows a thing or two about attrition and how unlucky bouts with injuries at inopportune times can cost a team everything. As much as anything else, it probably has something to do with why Paul continues to believe in the ability of the Rockets to achieve immortality.

On the first night of the regular season, mind you, in one horrific moment, Gordon Hayward and the Boston Celtics reminded us that on any given play, the outlook of an entire season—and perhaps, even a career—can change.

A twisted knee here, a sprained ankle there, and who knows?

With just over three weeks remaining in the regular season, the Warriors—the team that everyone knew would win the Western Conference again this season—has some concerns. Their primary weapons are hurting, their chances of securing home court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs are all but nil and their road to the Finals may end up being more difficult than they could have possibly imagined.

If the season ended today and the seeds held, the Warriors would draw the San Antonio Spurs in the first round and the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round before squaring off against the Rockets in the Western Conference Finals.

Of all teams, the Spurs are probably the last team the Warriors would want to see in the playoffs, much less the first round. While the outcome of that series would be determined by the health of Kawhi Leonard, there’s no doubt that Gregg Popovich would at least be able to effectively game plan for Golden State.

While the Blazers might not provide incredible resistance to the Warriors, the Oklahoma City Thunder will enter play on March 18 just two games behind the Blazers for the third seed out West. With the two teams squaring off against one another on March 25, it’s possible for Russell Westbrook and his crew having the opportunity to square off against the Dubs in the playoffs.

For Golden State, their path to the Finals having to go through San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Houston would absolutely be a worst case scenario. The only thing that could make it even more terrible for Steve Kerr would be having to do it with a platoon that was less than 100 percent.

Funny. In yet another season where everyone thought that it was the Warriors and everyone else, there are quite a few questions facing the defending champs heading into the final few weeks of the regular season.

Indeed, the Warriors are wounded. And whether they can be nursed back up to full strength is perhaps the most interesting thing to watch as the calendar turns to April and playoff basketball draws nearer.

Continue Reading


NBA Daily: The Golden State Warriors Need to Enter Rest Mode

With a bevy of injuries to their stars, the Golden State Warriors should rest up the remainder of the regular season to avoid any playoff letdowns.

Dennis Chambers



After a three-year-long run of dominating the NBA, the Golden State Warriors are showing some cracks in their armor.

Granted, those cracks aren’t a result of a botched system or poor play, but rather the injury bug biting the team in full force as they come down the regular season stretch.

First, it was Steph Curry and the ankle that’s bothered him all season — and for most of his career — when he tweaked it yet again on March 8 against the San Antonio Spurs. Golden State announced he would miss at least four games. Then it was Klay Thompson, who fractured his thumb three days later against the Minnesota Timberwolves — he’ll miss at least two weeks.

Now it’s Kevin Durant. Last year’s Finals MVP suffered an incomplete rib cartilage fracture and was ruled out of Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings. Durant is expected to be sidelined for at least two weeks. The Warriors would go on to lose that contest 95-93.

In about two weeks time, the Warriors went from having one of the most formidable offenses and scoring trios in the entire league, to having  Quinn Cook and Nick Young logging starter minutes.

Luckily for the Warriors, they’ve built up a big enough lead in the standings to achieve a 52-17 record, good for second place in the Western Conference. But the issue for the remainder of the season now becomes how healthy will the Warriors be come playoff time?

Curry and Durant have injury histories. Curry particularly has been bothered by this ankle since he entered the league. Without either of them, the Warriors — while still incredibly talented — will be on a completely even playing field with the Houston Rockets, and possibly other teams in the gauntlet that will be the Western Conference playoffs.

The bigger issue on top of the pending injury concerns becomes whether the Warriors should just pack it in for the rest of the regular season, and regroup for another expected title run.

Steve Kerr doesn’t seem to be thinking that way, however.

“All these injuries seem to be temporary,” Kerr told reporters. “A couple weeks, a week, two weeks – whatever. We’re in good shape. We’ve just got to survive this next slate of games and hopefully, start getting guys back and get rolling again for the playoffs.”

That’s true. None of the aforementioned injuries seem to be anything more serious than a few weeks of rest and relaxation. But that’s assuming the best case scenario for these players.

Should we assume that the Warriors are without their scoring trio for the next couple of weeks as their health updates have indicated, that would put their return roughly around April 1. At that time, Golden State would have six games remaining on their schedule. Four coming against playoff teams (Oklahoma City, Indiana, New Orleans, and Utah) with the other two games against Phoenix.

After missing the last few weeks on the court, with injuries that most likely won’t be at 100 percent, tossing their most valuable contributors back into the fray against a slate of playoff teams probably isn’t the smartest idea.

At this point, the Warriors postseason position is locked up. They likely won’t take the top seed away from Houston, and their lead is big enough to keep their second seed intact regardless of who’s on the court. The only thing left now is the determining who Golden State will play in the first round. With the revolving carousel that is the playoff standings out West, that’s anybody’s guess right now.

The only thing that’s certain is whichever team coming into Oracle Arena for that first round will be battle tested and talented based off of the dogfight they had to survive just to make the playoffs. The last thing the Warriors need to be is a banged up in a postseason with their first opponent smelling blood in the water.

In all likelihood, the Warriors — should everything go according to plan — will play the Houston Rockets for a chance to return to their fourth straight NBA Finals. Only this time, a potential Game 7 won’t be at Oracle Arena. It will be in downtown Houston, at the Toyota Center.

An advantage as big as the Warriors’ homecourt can never be understated. Operating in a do-or-die situation away from home will be newfound territory for this bunch. Regardless of talent or team success, at that point, it’s anybody’s game.

It won’t be easy for the Golden State Warriors as they try to extend their dynasty’s reign. This might be their most difficult year yet.

Durant, in his own words, can’t even laugh right now without feeling pain. The league’s only unanimous MVP is operating on one and a half ankles, and the team’s second Splash Brother has an injury on his shooting hand.

Resting up the team’s stars should be the team’s top priority right now, at risk of entering the postseason hobbled. Track record means nothing if the Warriors don’t have their full arsenal at disposal when the games matter most.

Hey, a 16-seed finally won a first-round game in the NCAA Tournament. Anything is possible on a basketball court, and the Warriors should do everything possible to ensure they’re not the next major upset candidate in line.

Continue Reading

The Strictly Speaking Podcast


Trending Now