The Warriors turned Game 1 of the 2016 NBA Finals into a blowout. It’s left fans wondering if it’s even possible to build a team under the salary cap that would beat Golden State.
Let’s go one step further: would the First Team All-NBA be able to beat the Warriors in a seven-game series?
Russell Westbrook and James Harden — the two leading MVP candidates — claimed the back court while LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Anthony Davis grabbed the remaining three spots when the All-NBA team was announced last month.
That meant no Warriors made the first team.
Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green all claimed second- and third-team honors with Klay Thompson on the outside looking in. This wonky scenario leaves us with yet another question:
Could the Warriors’ death lineup take on the All-NBA first team and win?
Sure, no Warriors players had better seasons than any player voted into the first team. Westbrook and Harden had two historical years, and James and Leonard were easily the best and second-best players in the NBA this season. Davis, amid another poor season in New Orleans, was still a dominant presence on both ends of the floor.
But Golden State had the NBA’s best record for a reason. They run their offense to a T every time and have one of, if not the best defensive scheme in the NBA. The All-NBA team wouldn’t get a moment to practice — not that five All-Stars need much time — but they’d be thrown to the wolves against a Warriors’ lineup setting off-ball screens to an oblivion.
Odds are, the first team has way too much talent for Golden State to keep up with. Between LeBron and Kawhi, the Warriors would have a handful already. Add in Davis as a rim protector, post presence, and spotty three-point shooter, along with both Westbrook and Harden’s penetrating prowess, and you’ve got a Warriors team on the ropes in a pickup game.
We’ll run this through an NBA 2K17 simulation and let you know how it goes.