There’s no shortage of reasons to think the Warriors are in for a rough year, and if they have a better record in 2017-2018 they might even end up on the brink of a fourth straight NBA title.
But it’s the fact that this year’s Warriors are one of the most interesting teams in the league that will likely be the biggest storyline of the season.
They could end up in the Finals, but they’d likely be one of four teams to finish in the top four.
The other three teams?
The Knicks, Rockets and Bucks.
This year’s roster is loaded with talent, but the Warriors could be one team that could end the season without a win.
The biggest problem the Warriors have heading into the offseason is their defense, which is a major reason why the Knicks and Rockets are both contending for playoff berths.
Defending the rim, the Knicks defense has been better than expected this season, but a lot of the improvements have been in the corners.
They’ve allowed just 91.3 points per 100 possessions, a number that is a good sign for their defensive identity.
The Rockets are a little better defensively, but there is no denying that the Rockets offense has been inconsistent.
If the Rockets defense isn’t up to snuff this season the Warriors will be in a tough spot, but it’s not clear how much of a problem they’ll be in the long run.
The Knicks have struggled defensively this season with just 91 points allowed per 100 attempts, which ranks 22nd in the NBA.
The Knicks defense is good enough to win games in the playoffs, but if they can’t stop the Warriors’ offense this season it’s going to be tough to contend.
The Bucks are also a little bit better defensively than the Knicks, but with the injury to Giannis Antetokounmpo the Bucks will have to play a little more to get to the playoffs.
If Giannis’ injury can be kept in check, the Bucks could be the most dangerous team in the Eastern Conference.
The biggest question mark heading into this season is whether or not Jabari Parker can play.
Parker, a 6-foot-11 guard, has been a nightmare for opposing teams in recent years, but he’s been one of NBA teams’ best players in 2017.
Parker averaged 14.8 points per game last season, good for fifth in the entire league.
He shot 44.3 percent from the field and 54.2 percent from 3-point range, which was third in the conference and fourth in the country.
The big question mark with Parker is his health.
Last season he missed nearly half the season with an ACL injury, but last year was also the first time he missed a full season due to a season-ending injury.
Parker has said he would be fine this season and is expected to be ready to go in January, but this season has been much different.
There are plenty of questions about Parker’s health, but for now it appears he’ll be out until after the NBA’s All-Star break.
There’s been a lot to like about the Warriors this season.
They could finish with the best record in the Western Conference and they might end up winning the East with a record of 10-3.
The Warriors will also have the chance to make a run at a third straight Finals appearance if they play as well as they did in the first two games of the regular season.
But that’s a long shot considering how well the Rockets, Knicks and Bucks have played this season — even if they were a little outmatched.