Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green thinks the San Antonio Spurs are the toughest challenge in the West.
The Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs finished No. 1 and 2 in the Western Conference, respectively, in the past two seasons. They met in the 2017 Western Conference Finals, as the Warriors won the series and captured the NBA championship. San Antonio last did this in 2014.
The offseason didn’t see much change for the Spurs and Warriors. Rudy Gay, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Brandon Paul joined the former, while Nick Young joined the latter and players re-signed. Will similar rosters mean another 60-plus win season for both teams?
Other NBA teams made offseason improvements to challenge them (the Warriors, in particular). The Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Minnesota Timberwolves arguably did the most, and are set to make noise in the Western Conference.
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“For me, it’s San Antonio. I think Minnesota’s gonna be much improved — I think they’re gonna be a tough team to beat. Houston improved — they’re gonna be a tough team to beat. OKC improved. I just don’t wanna think you can put anyone above San Antonio, because of everything they’ve done. They’ve never had a dropoff; they won 60-something games last year. I just always think San Antonio.”
There are four games between the Spurs and Warriors in 2017-18 to prove this. Golden State will also play 78 other games against the other NBA teams who may be toughest challenges. That includes the Rockets, Thunder, and Timberwolves in the West.
If the events of the 2017 Western Conference Finals never happened, would this even be a question to ask Green? The Spurs didn’t have Kawhi Leonard for the majority of the series, as he hurt his ankle in Game 1 (there’s a new rule to prevent the incident of how it happened). Tony Parker was hurt and didn’t play, either. How different would the series be with these players? Is it still a sweep? Do the Spurs win one or multiple games?
It’s one of many NBA “what-if” scenarios. However, there’s the 2017-18 season to rewrite that and put the past behind San Antonio. They play the Warriors on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, in their first matchup since Game 4 of the WCF.