The Golden State Warriors were already considered one of the best NBA teams in history. They won the NBA Championship in 2015, then went on to win a record 73 games in 2015-16 before losing to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in this year’s NBA Finals.
When you have a team like the Warriors that is overflowing with talent, what do you do to improve it? Go out and add even more talent — at least that’s the theory Golden State general manager Bob Myers is going with this summer.
As described by the Inquisitr, Golden State has now added one of the best players in the NBA, forward Kevin Durant, to their already-stacked roster. If that wasn’t enough, the team has agreed to very affordable contracts with center Zaza Pachulia and power forward David West. Rumor has it that a number of other current and former NBA players are trying to worm their way onto the Warriors’ roster to share in what everyone expects to be a blistering march toward the 2017 NBA Championship.
The key question here is this: does more talent automatically mean better results? Not necessarily.
Here are five reasons that the 2016-17 edition of the Golden State Warriors won’t be as good as they’ve been the prior two seasons.
Analytics in the NBA has been a controversial topic over the last few years, but many NBA insiders, as well as knowledgeable fans, swear by the data that is created by basketball statisticians. According to analysts at ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight blog, Golden State is projected to win 66 games next season, seven fewer than in 2015-16.
Las Vegas Oddsmakers
Professional oddsmakers use various combinations of statistical analysis and old-school experience. Those in the gambling industry aren’t always right, but they haven’t built an estimated $700 billion industry (per Statista) on being wrong. The Sporting News reports that the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook is placing the Warriors’ 2016-17 win total at 68.5, 4.5 victories less than last season. William Hill Betting is even less optimistic, projecting 66.5 wins for next year’s version of the Warriors (as detailed by the Las Vegas Sun).
Too Much Of A Good Thing?
Talent is essential to winning, but too much of it can cause issues that some teams can’t overcome. Kevin Durant was very effective as the No. 1 option in Oklahoma City, but what will happen when he has to defer to Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and others? For that matter, those players will have to defer to Durant at times, too. Nailing down everyone’s roles and maintaining good team chemistry will be a constant challenge for Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.
Too Many Changes?
The addition of Kevin Durant will drastically alter the chemistry of Golden State’s starting lineup, but in order to accommodate Durant’s monster contract, the team has made significant changes to their supporting cast. Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes, and Festus Ezeli are all headed out of Oakland to play elsewhere. Those players held down key roles for the Warriors, and regardless of who replaces them on the roster next season, there is no guarantee that the new players will be as effective in contributing to a Golden State team that won a staggering 140 regular season games over the past two years.
After the signing of Durant, a legitimate superstar, the world at large now expects the 2016-17 Golden State Warriors to walk through their 82-game schedule with ease, and bowl over any and all playoff contenders. These high expectations have now reached the level of assumptions, and that is very tough to deal with as a player or a coach. Overconfidence will most certainly be an obstacle for this group to overcome, and if they encounter even minor struggles throughout the season, frustration could mount quickly.
For the Golden State Warriors and their fans, success will not be defined by winning 73 or more games next season, but by taking home the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy in 2017.
Do you think Kevin Durant and crew will bring the NBA title back to the Bay Area next summer?
[Photo by Larry W. Smith/AP Images]