Golden State Warriors

The Warriors’ breakout player will be…

Jordan Poole. The Warriors have a glaring deficit in terms of offensive production. Stephen Curry can carry the team, but how long will he go injury free? D’Angelo Russell is there, but his viability and compatibility with the team is perhaps the biggest question mark looming over them.

This is where Poole comes in. He essentially replaces the skillset of the injured Klay Thompson. If Poole can at least shoot the 3 at a respectable clip – at least 36-37 percent – then he will be that reliable spot-up option for the Warriors till Thompson returns.

It all goes wrong if…

Quite simply, it all goes wrong if one of Curry or Green misses a significant chunk of the regular season due to injury. Both of them will probably need to play at least 70 games for the Warriors to clinch a playoff spot. At this point, they’re the only two proven commodities on the team in terms of skills and leadership; without them, the team is pretty much a rudderless ship.

If both of them go out? Ohhh, the horror…

What we’ll be saying about the Warriors at the end of the season…

This season will be considered as a period of transition. The Warriors lost a lot of players during the offseason: Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets, Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies, Shaun Livingston to retirement, and Klay Thompson to injury. In one fell swoop, they lost a huge chunk of their scoring, playmaking, and defense.

Will they win it all? Probably not. But no one is realistically expecting them to … and that might take a lot of teams by surprise.

That said, I’m all in for Giannis to the Warriors in 2021. (I kid, Bucks fans … or not.)

Final prediction

Vegas has the Warriors at a 48.5 win total. Based on last year’s standings, this would put them at around the 7th or 8th seed in the West. That is a reasonable prediction – that is, if Curry and Green manage to stay healthy, and if they get plenty of support from Russell, Poole, and the rest of their young players.

I’ll choose the optimistic route by saying the Warriors will match Vegas’ prediction. Will that be enough for them to sneak into the postseason? I’d say yes, good for an 8th seed and a chance to relive ‘We Believe’.

Final prediction: 49-33

Joe Viray (@JoeViray90)