Golden State Warriors: 8 Western Conference Matchup Nightmares
The Western Conference is loaded with matchup nightmares.
At least the Golden State Warriors now have Andrew Bogut to help minimize many potential matchup problems.
That alone won't be enough to prevent certain disadvantages among the opposing teams contending for the same position the Warriors are gunning for.
The NBA playoffs.
These are the teams and players the Warriors will struggle against this upcoming season.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Well, this one is obvious.
Coming back with exactly the same roster (plus the return of Eric Maynor) that went to the NBA Finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder are ready to return.
The Thunder create matchup problems for not just the Warriors, but for every team in the NBA. That is, unless you have LeBron James and Dwayne Wade on your team.
The Thunder can go small and run, or go big and physical. They also boast one of the Top Two players in the entire NBA in Kevin Durant.
With Stephen Curry on Russell Westbrook and (likely) rookie Harrison Barnes on Durant, the Warriors will need to provide weak-side help the entire game.
There is no use trying to shutdown Durant, Westbrook, and James Harden. The Warriors best bet is to make the Thunder beat them in the post. The Warriors need to take the talent advantage of David Lee and Andrew Bogut over Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka.
Utah Jazz Frontline
Remember when Apollo Creed's trainer didn't want a rematch with Rocky Balboa because "the man kept coming after you?"
That's exactly what the Warriors (and every other team) are going to feel like when they match up against the Utah Jazz frontline.
With Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter, they will keep coming at everyone in the block all year long.
As if they needed any, Jefferson and Millsap will have extra motivation playing for a new contract. Depending on Kanter's development he should be a terrific backup. Favors appears to be the guy you should be targeting in every fantasy basketball league this year.
Luckily, the Warriors have the shooters to out-shoot the Jazz. The Jazz frontline will be relentless and should give Bogut and Lee fits, every time they play.
For years, the Warriors were the team that could run with anyone.
That team is now the Denver Nuggets. Plus, they are a lot better at it than the Warriors ever were. Looking at their roster, they have the perfect blend of speed, defense, depth, and rebounding.
They will be a tough team to keep up with as the Nuggets are as deep as anyone in the entire NBA. They will have no lulls in their roster. If someone is struggling they have someone just as good backing up at every position.
The way the Warriors can contain the Nuggets is forcing them to shoot outside.
Outside Danilo Gallinari, the Nuggets don't have a knock down shooter. The Warriors' best bet at competing against Denver is to pack in the defense and force the Nuggets' speed to beat them outside.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are simply more talented than the Warriors. There is no denying that.
We can go position by position on the starting five and the Lakers have the advantage at every position.
There is no way the Warriors' starters are going to consistently beat the Lakers' starters.
Luckily, for the Warriors, the NBA game is 48 minutes long. The Warriors have a much stronger second unit than the Lakers. They will need to take advantage when the Lakers' stars need a rest and build a lead the Warriors' starters can hold to the finish.
The way the Warriors can win the season series is by outperforming the Lakers' second unit.
The Dallas Mavericks are expected to be a strong competitor for one of the final spots in the NBA playoffs.
This is a place the Warriors hope to be.
The Mavericks have jettisoned most of their championship roster. Now, on paper the Warriors have more talent from top to bottom than the Mavericks.
The problem, the Mavericks will still have the best player on the floor in Dirk Nowitzki.
After a down year, which can be attributed to a championship hangover and the idea that there might not be a season at all, Nowitzki should be back and in top form with his retooled roster.
With not one player the Warriors can use to defend him, it will take a team effort to stop Nowitzki. Especially in crunch time when Nowitzki shines.
Each game against the Mavericks should be close this season, so bottling up Nowitzki will be crucial. The Warriors need to be sure that the Mavericks aren't the ones that stop them from making the postseason.
One, if not the best point guard in the NBA, Paul can do it all on the basketball court. He is the leader of the team the Warriors will need to perform well against this season.
The Clippers rely heavily on the play making abilities of Paul, especially Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. To beat the Clippers, the Warriors need to force Griffin to create his own offense, making him uncomfortable. Jordan, without Paul spoon-feeding him the ball, will struggle mightily offensively.
It will be tough, but stopping Paul from creating opportunities for others, is the way to beat the Clippers.
The Warriors match up well against Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. With David Lee and Andrew Bogut canceling Gasol and Randolph out, the biggest headache the Warriors will have against the Memphis Grizzlies is Rudy Gay.
With the bulldozing that will be going on in the post, Mike Conley and Stephen Curry going at it, and Tony Allen in Klay Thompson's face all game, it leaves (likely) Harrison Barnes matched up against Gay.
Not a good spot for the rookie.
This gives the Warriors a distinct disadvantage defensively.
Gay can really attack the rim, and while he struggled with his shot last season, expect him to bounce back. Gay is really a terrific finisher and he presents a tough defensive assignment for anyone, let alone a rookie.
He will be playing with a chip on his shoulder this season after being left off the Olympic team. With O.J. Mayo out, the Grizzlies will rely more heavily on Gay's scoring abilities and that shouldn't be a problem for someone with his talent.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are expected to be one the top new teams next season.
Just look at how many more wins ESPN projects the Timberwolves to have over the Warriors.
The Warriors can finish ahead of the Wolves in the standings if they can find a way to contain Kevin Love.
Love presents a matchup problem for any team with his unique abilities.
He is arguably the best rebounder in the NBA, he has three-point range and is a terrific passer. There is really just no way to stop him completely.
The games against the Timberwolves will be vital this season and Mark Jackson has to find a way to limit Love's contribution in their matchups.
Good luck with that right?
The best way to slow down the Wolves is by stopping everyone else on the team and limiting Love's numbers.