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BDL's 2015-16 NBA Season Previews: Golden State Warriors

Tuesday, October 6, 2015 9:50:00 AM America/Los_Angeles

The Warriors were so good in 2014-15 that theyout-performed our preview's best-case scenarioby a not inconsiderable margin. First-year head coach Steve Kerr didn't just prove fit for the job — he and his elite staff of assistants turned a talented team into a genuinely dominant one with excellent systems that put virtually every player on the roster in a position to succeed. Stephen Curry followed up his first All-Star season bywinning MVPKlay Thompson made the leap to stardom, Draymond Green stood at the vanguard of a new era of positional versatility and came in second in Defensive Player of the Year voting,Harrison Barnes rediscovered the form that made him such a promising rookie, Andre Iguodala came off the bench for the first time in his career and only ended up winning NBA Finals MVP, and reserves like Shaun Livingston helped ensure that Golden State barely missed a beat with key players on the bench. Every player understood his role, to the point where the since-departed David Lee took several DNP-CDswithout complaint.

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The stats speak for themselves. The Warriors won a franchise-record 67 games, led the league in points allowed per 100 possessions, came in second in points scored per 100 possessions, became the eighth team in NBA history with an average point differential of 10 points or more, and were not taken to seven games in any playoff series.

Beyond the numbers, the Warriors were the team of the season because they seemed to have an answer for any challenge thrown their way. A hyper-versatile roster allowed Kerr, his assistants, and his players to adjust to opponents without sacrificing quality, especially in the postseason. Both theMemphis Grizzlies and Cleveland Cavaliers forced Golden State into 2-1 deficits and gained homecourt advantage, but the Warriors solved each series in Game 4 and were never really pushed again. While both teams were limited by injuries, they also had no answers for a favorite with so many strengths.

Despite all this success, there are legitimate concerns that the Warriors cannot match last season's performance. Unlike most champions, they held a sub-elite profile prior to their excellent campaign and encountered relatively little adversity along the way. It's hard to blame a team that beats every playoff opponent in its path, but the Warriors were fortunate to avoid their two toughest matchups in the West (the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers, though really just the former) and to get a Cavs lineup with no Kevin Love and with Kyrie Irving for just one game. The doubts exist and will have to be answered by another terrific season.

Regardless, the Warriors enter 2015-16 as title favorites if for no other reason than that they return every key player from one of the best statistical seasons in NBA history. It's up to everyone else to prove they can't repeat.

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