Hey everyone, thanks for checking out the NBA Roundtable. The Warriors and Hawks are off to a fantastic start, and the Timberwolves may even make an impact out in the Western Conference. We will discuss this and much more on the NBA Roundtable.
Here are the questions this week.
With the Golden State Warriors off to an impressive start, outscoring their opponents by an average of 18 points entering Sunday. Can anyone stop them in the West, or the entire league for that matter?
Joao- I think it is still early and every contender is a big injury away from having its plans ruined. Having said that, the reigning champions are looking even more dominant than last year and Stephen Curry is again an early favorite for MVP. I still believe the Spurs and even the Clippers can beat them, with pure size and board domination. Sure, the Warriors won it all last year without size but the Spurs and Clippers should be a handful for them this year. If the Warriors do make it to the Finals again then I see them beating any team in the East, be it the Cavaliers, Bulls or Hawks.
Steve- As I will discuss in the next question, this is the best team that I have seen since that 1995-96 Bulls team. Last year this team was incredible, and from what I am seeing so far this season, they are even better this year. I don’t think anyone will stop them in their quest to winning the NBA Championship again this season. I had originally said the Cavs would win it, and there is still a chance that could happen, but there is no stopping this Warriors team in my opinion. If they stay healthy, we may be talking dynasty in the next couple of years, yeah I said it. DYNASTY
Chad- I don’t think anybody can stop them at this point. The Clippers contained them for about 3 quarters but other than that I don’t see anybody getting in the Warriors until possibly Cleveland in the Finals. The Warriors to me look like a stacked squad on a mission to prove that last year was no fluke.
Todd- I think the only teams that can give the Golden State Warriors a run for their money are the San Antonio Spurs of course with the addition of LaMarcus Aldrigde and The Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers gave them a good game the other night where they just came up short. The Spurs have been one of the top teams in the west for the last 18 years, this year will be no different.
Bill- Of course they can be stopped. The question really is, who steps up to make it happen? If there’s any team out there that’s capable of doing it, I’d put my money on either San Antonio or Houston. While many might tab OKC as the team to run with them, that’s going to be hard if Kevin Durant can’t keep himself on the floor. As good as Russell Westbrook is, he’s going to need help and simply cannot do it all himself even if he thinks he can.
Joao- No and I really don’t think they should aim for it. If the Warriors find themselves in a position, late in the season, to actually beat their record, I think they should just let the foot off the gas a little bit and rest their key players in preparation for the playoffs. The 1996 Bulls were a more dominant team than these Warriors are and they went all out to make history.
Steve- Okay I went back and forth on this, because if there is any team that can do it, it would be this Golden State Warriors team. So I will say that they will come pretty damn close to at least tying this record. I will say the Warriors will become the second team in history to win 70 games, and will finish the season 70-12, two games behind the 96 Bulls. Then they will be on their way to their second consecutive championship.
Chad- Being a Bulls Fan I don’t want to see it happen; This Warriors does have the talent to do it but will coach Steve Kerr push his guys to break the record or will he start resting guys for games here and there for when the playoffs come around. I don’t think the Warriors can get to 72 because those Bulls were far and away the best team in the league that year. I think the gap to the Warriors is not was as wide.
Todd- No. The Warriors will not tie or surpass the Bulls record of 72 wins. The Western Conference is Simply too good for that. Almost any team can win on any given night. The Eastern conference has always been the easier conference. To say that the Warriors are gonna lose 9 games or less i believe would be unrealistic.
Bill- No. Even as watered down as the league is now, I just don’t see it happening. Sure, they’re off to one hell of a start… but I still can’t climb onto that wagon. As a point of reference, the Bulls were 44-5 at the All Star Break. Let’s see where these Warriors are at the half way point so we’re not putting the cart before the horse. There’s a LOT of basketball yet to be played.
Joao- I guess the fact that the Hawks do not possess an elite player is what makes most media experts ignore them somewhat. Teague, Millsap and Horford are excellent players but they are not regarded as franchise players. Yet everyone saw them last year and this time around they are back at it again. But if the Hawks can keep it up I do believe most pundits will start paying more attention to them in the second half of the season.
Steve- Two reasons, they are not in a big enough market to matter. Most teams in the South have this problem, they no longer have TBS to back them up and show every other game like they did in the 90’s. Plus they don’t have a guy like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant, to make headlines night in and night out. These are just a well oiled team who know how to play basketball and win games. They are kind of like the Spurs of the East, boring to watch, but ultra productive.
Chad- In the media world and in my opinion the Hawks are just not a sexy team; They don’t have an overwhelming superstar on their team; they do have some nice pieces on the roster but I don’t think its a roster that will get them to the NBA Finals or even the Conference Finals.
Todd- It is because the Atlanta Hawks don’t have any real super star on the team. They don’t have a guy to turn to when they need someone to take over a close game at the end. which sometimes could hurt them. A lot of times that helps them to because they work better as a team without that one guy. Cause they are not depending on that one guy to get them out of a jam.
Bill- The Hawks don’t get the publicity because they don’t have the flash and appeal of either CLE or CHI. Despite that, they still manage to get work done. They’ve got a surprising level of talent on that roster, that’s for sure. I fully expect them to be there at the end, and I also expect them to be far more prepared should they run into CLE in the conference finals. They’ve re-tooled the roster a bit by bringing in a few more shooters in Sefolosha and Hardaway Jr and also added another skilled, finesse big man in Splitter. Korver isn’t injured and Bazemore is showing that he belongs. CLE and CHI should be nervous.
Joao- Before the season started I chose the Cavaliers to win it all and I am not changing that prediction. The Cavs had a very rocky start last season because of chemistry issues, injuries and a new coach/ system. This year they are off to a good start as players are comfortable with each other and the overall style of play and they will figure to get even better – let us not forget that two key cogs are still injured, in Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert.
Steve- I have to stick with the Cavaliers to win the East again this year, making LeBron a finalist for the sixth straight season. They came together late last year and played well to make the Finals, when most thought this would be the year. This is a better team, despite the loss to Chicago on opening night, there only loss to date mind you. LeBron is going to have a different role, and I think he will lead this team to the top of the conference again, Love is back to his old self, and Irving may be the breakout player of the year this season. The Cavs win this and I think will win it convincingly.
Chad- As Ric Flair would say to be the man you gotta beat the man and right now Cleveland is the team to beat because I don’t feel like there was a team in the East that did enough in the offseason to match what the Cavs have talent wise.
Todd- I would like to say the Chicago Bulls but until the Derrick Rose saga ends they are not going to do very well. So i’m gonna go with the Atlanta Hawks cause I can’t Stand LeBron James and i’m not picking Cleveland.
Bill- Despite all my talk about ATL, I expect CLE to come out of the Eastern Conference once again. They’ve just got too much talent for what is largely still a weak conference minus a few teams at the top. It’ll be tougher this year for them though, and I expect no sweeps this time around.
Joao- Sell. Even though they have just beaten the Bulls in Chicago the Western Conference is just too crowded. I think they are perhaps 1 year away from the playoffs but it will not happen this season for them. Looking at the standings right now I see the Thunder and the Grizzlies improving; when that happens someone will bow out of the top 8 and I think the young Timberwolves are a prime candidate for that. But if they can keep their nucleus intact this is a group with happy days ahead of them.
Steve- Sell this for now. The Wolves are much improved from last year, and may compete for the 8th seed in the Western Conference playoffs. I don’t think they are there yet, and it is way too early in the season to be get them off to a good start. Coming into to Sunday, they are 3-2. that is not really an amazing start, but they are playing better, and have something to play for after Saunders passed away. Garnett can lead this team to respectability, Wiggins is going to be a superstar in this league, and the Wolves will be good, but still a couple years away.
Chad- I’m going to sell the Minnesota Timberwolves right now just based on a lack of sample size. The have players that can really play but at this point I don’t think they have the weapons to stay in a race for a Western Conference Playoff spot for 82 games.
Todd- I would have to sell on this one. The reason is the first game of the season they barely escaped a victory over my Los Angeles Lakers. I’m not selling cause they beat my favorite team, i’m selling by the way they beat them. The Lakers are not very good but they were up by 16 point at one point in the game. The Lakers gave them an early Christmas present. There other wins are against Denver which are not very good either and Chicago which are so distracted cause of the Derrick Rose saga.
Bill- I’m going to… SELL. While they’ve acquired some top flight young talent, they’re still a good three to four years out from being considered a serious contender in the ever so deep Western Conference. They’re gaining ground fast on those bottom feeders, but I just can’t quite buy in at this point. Getting Towns was a godsend for them, that much has been clear from the start. I’m interested to see if they make some moves this season or if they stand firm. I can’t imagine Pekovic being all too pleased with going from a solid starting spot to third on the depth chart. No matter where they end up at season’s end, they’ll easily put up a 5-8 win improvement on last season. You’ve got to start somewhere, right?
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