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6 reasons not to worry about the Warriors and Cavaliers

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The two best teams in the league are off to rough starts, but don’t believe the hype.

2017 NBA Finals - Game Five Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

We’ve gotten three straight years of the Warriors and Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, creating an expectation of excellence. So it’s natural to be surprised whenever they take even the mildest misstep.

With the two NBA Finalists sharing a combined record of 7-7, people are trying to figure out if this will last and if we’ll finally see two different squads lacing up come June.

But we’re here to tell you not to believe the hype. The Cavaliers are 10th in the Eastern Conference right now and the Warriors are 7th in the West, but that won’t last. Both teams are battling through their respective struggles right now, but they’ll likely both be right back where they were last June after they make a few tweaks here and there.

Here’s why.

The Warriors’ offense will be an all-time great one

And that, alone, will win them 60 games. Their defense has left a lot to be desired, but through seven games the Warriors are still scoring 115.6 points per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com’s stats tool. That would give them the highest offensive rating in league history.

And they’re doing that while their best players aren’t even playing their best ball. Stephen Curry is only shooting 34 percent from three this season. Draymond Green is shooting 36 percent from the field and 21 percent from deep. Those numbers will certainly continue to rise throughout the season. Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are both playing well, but Curry’s gravity and Green’s playmaking are the engines that really make this team go. So things are only going up from here.

The Cavaliers still don’t have a starting lineup

Through the first seven games of the season, the Cavaliers have shifted starting lineups four different times already. They blew their team up late in the offseason with the Kyrie Irving trade and added Dwyane Wade just before training camp. They’ve got a lot of pieces that still need to mesh and they just haven’t yet.

Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, Wade, Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose have all moved in and out of the starting lineup. Tyronn Lue has even gone with LeBron James at point guard. The Cavaliers are still searching and they haven’t found their groove yet. Their -5.4 point differential says they’re a bad team, but they’ve just got to figure out what works.

The Warriors have beaten themselves so far this season

Throughout their run of dominance over the last three seasons, the Warriors’ Achilles heel has always been their turnovers. When they get too careless with the ball and throw it out of bounds or to the other team, they slow the game down or give other teams easy offense. That doesn’t allow them to flex their versatility on either end of the floor.

Last season the Warriors only turned the ball over on 14.4 percent of their possessions. This season? That number is up to 18 percent of their possessions and 20 percent in losses. You can’t win that way against even the worst teams in the NBA, and that’s showing so far this season.

The Cavaliers have played three back-to-backs already

The Cavaliers are an older team and back-to-backs are doing them no favors. They’ve got three under their belt already, and in those games, with no days of rest, the Cavaliers are a -15.7 so far through the season.

The Cavaliers are old and aren’t exactly built to play well in these games, yet almost half of the games they’ve played in so far have been on the second half of a back-to-back. When they’ve got at least two days rest? The Cavaliers are 3-1. Off days matters for a veteran team searching for continuity.

The Warriors defense won’t always be this bad

The Warriors are allowing 108.4 points per 100 possessions right now, which is completely off brand for them. Last season, they allowed 101.1 points per 100 and had one of the best defenses in the league. This season? They’re 26th so far.

Part of that is because of all the turnovers they’ve had, but Draymond Green has also been uncharacteristically bad. Green has a defensive rating of 109.5, which is up from 99.3 last season. He’s not forcing turnovers or protecting the rim right now. Part of that may be due to the knee sprain he sustained in the first game of the season, but he might just be going through a rough stretch of the season.

In either case, Green will pick up his play at some point. And when he does, the Warriors’ defense will be as incredible as it always has.

These teams have are littered with surefire Hall of Famers in their primes

There’s no question that both of these teams have talent — more than anyone else in their respective conferences. Curry, Durant, Thompson and Green are all 29 years old or younger. James is 33, but he’s still one of the best three or four players in the game and one of the best of All-Time. Kevin Love is still a major force offensively.

Talent isn’t a question here and talent normally wins out in the NBA — even if it takes a little time. Things will click again for both of these teams, and they’ll probably see each other in June all over again. Just try not to feel too silly for thinking they were down and out when that moment comes.