Are the Warriors the Team to Beat This Year?
The last time the Golden State Warriors played the Los Angeles Lakers was during the play-in tournament. Ever since their numerous encounters in the playoffs, a lot has changed. The Warriors were slated as a lottery as Klay Thompson has been nursing a gruesome injury.
The Lakers won a championship in the NBA Bubble but went in a completely new direction as the roster features a lot of new faces.
The Lakers may need to make a move as they may need to sign another defensive-minded player who can also contribute offensively like Avery Bradley.
The Warriors rally past the Lakers in the Season Opener
The Golden State Warriors played without Klay Thompson as they waited for his return at some point this season.
Jonathan Kuminga who the Warriors selected with the 14th pick in the lottery in this year’s draft is closer to doing on-court drills as he is dealing with a strained patella tendon.
The team was also missing James Wiseman but had no issue finding a replacement for the time being.
Even though it’s early to be certain that the Warriors are a Finals contender, the Warriors have proved that the organization can build through the draft and find the right pieces in the offseason to rebuild their powerhouse status.
Even though it was just one game, the Warriors battled the Lakers and secured a win on the road.
The Lakers have several new faces on the team, and still have to work on team chemistry. Their biggest addition this offseason, Russell Westbrook, had a game he would like to forget in his debut in the purple in the gold.
Westbrook wasn’t much of a factor as he had 8 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 turnovers in 35 minutes of play.
The Lakers may have to find a new role for the star point guard in regards to his usage rate as he is not their go-to player when LeBron James and Anthony Davis are on the court.
Despite hitting 5-21 from the field, Stephen Curry notched his eighth career triple-double of his career, which was his first since 2016. He finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.
The Warriors’ Bench Makes a Good First Impression Against the Lakers
The Lakers had the lead going into the third quarter but slowly deteriorated as the Warriors had other plans. Last season, the Warriors’ biggest flaw was their second unit as they lacked the depth to make a run in the playoffs. The bench as a unit scored 55 points in the 121-114 winning effort.
The bench outscored the Lakers bench 55-29. Of the seven players who came off the bench, Nemanja Bjelica notched a double-double in his Warriors debut with 15 points and 11 rebounds on 6-7 shooting from the field. Bjelica plus 20 was the best on either team last night.
The Warriors bench also had two other players in double figures. Damion Lee had 15 points and Andre Iguodala who made his Warriors’ return contributed with 12 points and a block.
This may be the first game of the season, but there are a few takeaways from this game.
With a few players nearing their return including star Klay Thompson, the Warriors have solidified their depth this season. Jordan Poole struggled early but finished the night with 20 points.
When Thompson makes his return, Poole will most likely lead the second unit and be in a great position to make the Western Conference Finals and possibly the NBA Finals.
The Warriors may be the team to beat this year as many contenders are experiencing problems within the organization which includes the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, and Phoenix Suns.