With four games left in the regular season, the Warriors will end up either the sixth or seventh seed in the west. They will face one of four possible teams: the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver Nuggets, or the Memphis Grizzlies (the Clippers, having clinched the Pacific division, will remain the fourth seed and play either Denver or Memphis in the first round).
The Warriors will face a tough matchup if they end the season tied, or with a worse record, than the Houston Rockets. Facing the experienced Spurs, under the wise guidance of Popovich, would make for a poor first round matchup for the Warriors. In fact, this year, the Warriors won their first game against the Spurs since 2008—the Spurs have dominated the Warriors historically, posting a 97-51 record against Golden State over 37 seasons.
The Thunder would also present a potent challenge for the Warriors, (for any NBA team, really). The dangerous tandem of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, with a highly skilled supporting cast around them, make them the favorites to win the West.
In other words, the Warriors are better off with the sixth spot in the West.
If the Warriors finish the season ahead of the Rockets, they will face either the Memphis Grizzlies or the Denver Nuggets. Both boast a winning record against the Warriors in recent years. The Grizzlies offer a stronger frontcourt compared to Denver (even though Kenneth Faried is a beast, or a “Manimal”), while the Nuggets outmatch the Grizzlies with their backcourt and depth.
The Nuggets lost a great scorer in Gallinari, but that means more time for Wilson Chandler, Andre Iguodala, and Corey Brewer. Oh, and also, the Nuggets have the highest winning percentage at home in the NBA this year, they’ve only lost three games.
All of the teams the Warriors play in the first round of the 2013 playoffs have a winning record against the Dubs over recent seasons. The Warriors need to ignore the past and focus on winning the game at hand in whichever series they play. If the team believes, if the fans believe, then Curry and crew can beat anyone.
I believe the best first round opponent for the Warriors would be the Grizzlies…