The Warriors have won three titles in the past four seasons, and many of the top contenders in the league are currently focused on building a team that can dethrone them.
It won’t be easy, though, given how dominant the team was last season, sweeping the Cavs in the NBA Finals. What’s even scarier is that the team might be even better, given the addition of four-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins.
The Rockets gave the Warriors quite a scare in the Western Conference Finals, though, taking a 3-2 lead in the series. Had it not been for Chris Paul suffering a hamstring injury late in Game 5, Houston may have been able to knock off Golden State. That series showed that the blueprint to beating the Warriors revolves around playing them physical — controlling the glass and contesting every shot.
That’s why the team that Klay Thompson believes is the biggest threat to the Warriors isn’t a huge surprise, given their experience and playing style. Thompson recently revealed that he believes the Celtics are that team, given the way they match up against the Warriors, in an interview with ESPN that aired on “The Jump.”
“I like the team out East in Boston,” Thompson said. “They’ve got a very nice young team. One through five, man, they’ve got a team that kind of mirrors ours, as far as their length, guys who can shoot and play defense, and an unselfish way about things. So, I think that they are going to be a team to reckon with.”
The Celtics enjoyed a lead against the Cavs in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and had it not been for a second-half meltdown, they likely would’ve faced the Warriors in the Finals last season. Furthermore, now that LeBron James is in the Western Conference, the Celtics are favored to win the East. Given their mix of young talent and veteran leadership, heading into the season, they do look like the team that has the best chance of matching up against the Warriors, but they’ll need to remain healthy to do so.
Golden State has played at a level in the playoffs that no other team has been able to match up to this point, so Boston will have to prove it can hang with the world champions on the big stage, when it matters most.