Despite the roster improvements made by most NBA teams, the Golden State Warriors remain as the heavy favorite to take home the Larry O’Brien Trophy next season. In the ESPN Summer Forecast, panelists gave the Warriors 100 percent first-place votes to fully dominate the Western Conference and win the 2018-19 NBA championship title. With their current roster, it’s not a surprise why most people are already expecting the Warriors to win it all.
In the recent offseason, the Warriors managed to retain their core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green. Despite being buried deep in the luxury tax hell, the Warriors were still able to improve their roster with the acquisition of All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins in free agency. Though Cousins is expected to miss most of the 2018-19 regular season, he’s expected to return 100 percent healthy in the Western Conference Playoffs where the Warriors will need him the most.
In a recent interview with Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post, John Wall of the Washington Wizards and Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder discussed how the game has changed. Wall said that in this era, a team needs at least three superstars or All-Stars to dethrone the Warriors and win an NBA championship title. George shared the same sentiment and added that the era of a one-star team is over.
“No team has won [a title] where one single guy was the lone star and it was their team. It’s not that era. I’m not sure how the veterans, the legends, don’t understand that part. It’s a different game now. For those guys to chime in and say we’re not built the same…I never understood that, because who would we be fooling if we went out alone and tried to go up against the Warriors? The best guy in our league right now couldn’t do it. [LeBron James] got swept [in the 2018 Finals].”
Paul George used LeBron James, who is widely considered as the best player in the world, as a perfect example to support his statements. Last season, James single-handedly carried the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals only to be swept by the Warriors. The Cavaliers may have Kevin Love during those times, but the All-Star forward hasn’t lived up to expectations from a superstar since teaming up with LeBron in 2014.
Like most NBA players, Paul George and John Wall are also dreaming of winning their first NBA championship title. Unfortunately, their respective teams only have a maximum of two superstars on their roster. Even if the Thunder and the Wizards succeed to add another superstar before the February NBA trade deadline, it remains questionable if they have what it takes to beat the Warriors’ “Super Team” in a best-of-seven series.