ESPN’s annual basketball preview was a huge step forward for the network’s coverage.
It’s also an exercise in storytelling, as ESPN showed us that the Warriors were still a team that could get past their toughest matchups.
With that said, this year’s preview had some major disappointments, and it will likely be difficult to see any of them resolved.
I am, however, excited to see what the network has in store for the 2017-18 season, as this is the only year since 2008 that it hasn’t had a season premiere that was more of a disaster than an improvement.
The Warriors had a very tough 2017-2018 regular season, but there are still a few key elements that they have in common with their predecessors.
First, the Warriors played two very similar games in the Finals, and they lost each time.
They also lost a game in the regular season that they were favored to win, and lost a key game in their best-of-seven series against the Cavs.
Second, the Warriors won their next two games, and in the process, they also won their final two games.
Third, the Finals were not as close as the previous two years, with the Cavs winning the first two games and the Warriors losing the second.
Fourth, the Cavaliers won their first three games, but lost two of them in a row in the next two weeks, while the Warriors won three straight, including a victory over the Cavs in the first game.
Fifth, the Cavs and Warriors split the series, with both teams winning six of the next seven games.
Sixth, the final two weeks of the season were the most competitive games of any NBA Finals.
Sixth, The Cavs played two games in Cleveland, while the Warriors played five in Seattle.
Finally, the season was marked by the Cavs’ second-most successful home win in franchise history, while Golden State’s record of 30-2 at home is tied for second in the NBA.
There are a lot of similarities between the Warriors and their previous four seasons, and some of them are clear, like the Warriors winning their first four games, losing one of them, and then winning their last two.
In a way, this season is the perfect blend of what made the Warriors so successful.
For one, they’ve added more experience to their roster.
Stephen Curry was an All-Star this year, and he played a big role in the Warriors coming into the Finals.
Klay Thompson had a terrific year, scoring 40 points on 41% shooting and shooting 58% from 3.
And Curry has been an absolute beast since returning to the league in 2018.
His production was on the rise after missing the entire season with a knee injury, and this year he’s on pace to finish as the NBA’s most prolific scorer, behind only Draymond Green, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Russell Westbrook.
This year’s Warriors team is built around Curry, Thompson, and Draymon Green.
Curry is the centerpiece of this roster, and when Curry was healthy, he was a legitimate MVP candidate.
Golden State’s defense is built on the back of one of the best perimeter defenders in the game.
Steph Curry has the skills and size to protect the rim, and the team has some quality wings to help out.
However, it’s unclear whether or not Green can sustain his impressive shooting form and the Curry-Thompson combo can’t carry the offense.
Both Curry and Green have the ability to score, but neither player is a perfect scorer.
Green is a great passer, but he’s not a great shooter.
Thompson is a terrific rebounder, but his defensive instincts and ball handling skills have not improved as much as his shooting.
Durant, who missed much of last season due to injury, has struggled mightily since returning, but the Warriors still have plenty of scoring firepower to put up points.
That doesn’t mean Green or Thompson are any worse or any better than the Warriors of old.
But they’re better.
If the Cavs and the Warrior’s chemistry can gel and Curry is back, Golden State can have one of their greatest seasons in a decade.
So much so that I believe the next few years of the NBA will be one of Golden State and Cleveland’s best.
Let’s hope they can be as successful this season as they were in 2017-2019.
Follow @davidkurtz and @GoldenStateReport on Twitter for updates on NBA free agency, NBA draft, and more.
Like us on Facebook to keep up with the latest NBA news.