So my editors here at Mybookie want me to predict the Western Conference winner in the NBA this season. That’s like asking me to predict whether the sun rises in the East or West. I’m speaking tongue in cheek of course, but the only way the Golden State Warriors don’t win a third straight Western Conference title is if the season is canceled or their team plane crashes. But being serious, really the only thing that can derail the Warriors would be injuries. Let’s check what the NBA lines have to say.
Let’s Have a Closer Look at the 2016 NBA Western Conference Season Win Total Prediction
— Double Clutch NBA UK (@DoubleClutchUK) October 13, 2016
Of course the Warriors had the best record in NBA history last regular season at 73-9 but an injury to Steph Curry somewhat derailed them in the playoffs. The Warriors were down 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals but became only the ninth team in league history to rally from that deficit and win a series. Alas, fortune wasn’t smiling on the Warriors in the NBA Finals as they became the first team to ever blow a 3-1 series lead and lose in the Finals. It took a super-human effort from LeBron James to win Game 7 back in Oakland.
No team had a better offseason than the Warriors as they were able to convince Kevin Durant to leave Oklahoma City in free agency and sign with them. A lot of players didn’t like that decision as in the old days, a star player didn’t leave his team to join a rival. The Clippers Paul Pierce is an old-school guy and last week he said this about Durant: “I’m an old-school guy. I’m a competitor. I never believed that — when you want to be the best, you’ve to beat the best. And Oklahoma, I felt like, was a contending team. They had Golden State on the ropes. I’ve been in that position. I could have left Boston years ago, but I stuck it out. I just feel like when you’re that close, as a competitor, you don’t go join the team that just put you out.”
The Warriors are -190 favorites to win their second NBA title in three years. I only believe there are two teams that can beat the Warriors in the West.
San Antonio Spurs (+900 For NBA Title)
San Antonio was second in the NBA with 67 wins last year, a franchise record. By all statistical measures, they had one of the best regular seasons ever. But they were 1-3 vs. the Warriors and were upset by Oklahoma City in the conference semifinals. And the team lost Tim Duncan to retirement, arguably the best power forward in league history. He was also the franchise’s emotional and spiritual hub and set the tone for everything. The good news is Kawhi Leonard has been groomed to take over the mantle, and LaMarcus Aldridge was brought on board two summers ago and delivered a very encouraging first season in San Antonio. The team also replaced Duncan with Bulls free agent Pau Gasol, who is a better scorer than Duncan.
Los Angeles Clippers (+3000 For NBA Title)
It’s likely the last hurrah for this group as both star point guard Chris Paul and power forward Blake Griffin will be free agents after this season. I think the Clippers had a chance to beat the Warriors in last year’s playoffs, but Los Angeles was knocked out in the first round by Portland when Griffin and Paul went down with injury. Doc Rivers, the head of basketball operations as well as the coach, kept the core of the roster together. Jamal Crawford, Austin Rivers, Wesley Johnson and Luc Mbah a Moute all re-signed as free agents, keeping the bulk of the bench in place. Another potential key reserve, Marreese Speights, arrived from Golden State.