Golden State Warriors Underdogs Heading Into 2015-16 Season


The Golden State Warriors did everything they were expected to do and more last season, going 67-15 in the regular season — beating the Pelicans, Grizzlies, Rockets, and Cavaliers en route to a NBA Championship.

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Stephen Curry had one of the best statistical seasons for the Warriors ever, and added an MVP trophy to his impressive past year for his efforts. Andre Iguodala, after accepting a bench role for the entire regular season and three playoff series’, started the final three games against the Cavs and won the Finals MVP award as a result.

With so much success on the court last season, one would think that the Warriors would again be favorites heading into next season, with most of their key players under contract for a few more years.

However, the day after the Warriors won Game six of the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers and clinching the title, the odds for next years title favorites were released. And oddsmakers inexplicably picked the Cavaliers to win it all in 2016 — the same Cavs team the Warriors had just dispatched for the title.

Golden State Warriors
Golden State Warriors /

Golden State Warriors

It’s something of an understandable conclusion, as most think that the Cavs, if fully healthy, might have beaten the Warriors with star point guard Kyrie Irving and double double machine Kevin Love providing the help LeBron James needed — but didn’t get — against Golden State.

Heading into free agency, the oddsmakers were clear that despite the slight, the path to the NBA Finals would run through the Cavaliers and the Warriors. However, early offseason reports had rumors of star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge headed to San Antonio, which many believed would tip the scales of power in the ultra competitive West.

And sure enough, the Spurs found a way to retool after the trade of center Tiago Splitter. Now, most experts are predicting that San Antonio will finish first in a stacked Western Conference, and are again title contenders after being booted out in the first round of the playoffs by the Clippers last season.

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Another team that could be pegged to finish higher this coming season are the Oklahoma City Thunder. If Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook can stay healthy all season long, this team is always in the hunt — and many predict that the Thunder will finish high in the Western Conference as well.

Even the Los Angeles Clippers are believed to gotten better with the acquisitions of Josh Smith, Lance Stephenson, and veteran Paul Pierce.

The defending champion Warriors however, had rather productive offseason in their own right, having drafted a talented prospect in Kevon Looney, traded David Lee for Gerald Wallace and then Jason Thompson, and finally resigning starting forward Draymond Green and key reserve Leandro Barbosa.

With basically no real changes to their roster — other than the loss of Lee — the Warriors will look to embrace the underdog role yet again this season. As the defending champions, you will always be circled on opponents schedules as a big game and will no longer be overlooked, but with the Spurs making great splashes in the offseason, not all of the attention is on Golden State in the West.

While many teams would love to beat the defending champions, they would also like to beat the new powers and perceived favorites in the conference — which takes some of the attention away from the Warriors.

With the reloaded Spurs, Thunder, and Clippers, the West looks to be even tougher this season than it was last season. While being the underdogs again is not ideal for Dubs fans, and seems like a huge slap in the face, the Warriors are seeming to embrace this new challenge in a stacked Western Conference, and will set out to prove that the 2015 NBA Title was no fluke.

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