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Rating Warriors’ greatest threats to NBA championship repeat

Rating greatest threats to Warriors championship repeat initially appeared on NBC Sports activities Bayarea

Simply over 4 weeks in the past, the Warriors took down the Boston Celtics clinched their seventh NBA title in franchise historical past and the fourth within the final eight years.

Can they do it once more?

For the reason that flip of the century, three groups have been topped champions in consecutive seasons. The Los Angeles Lakers did it twice with a three-peat from 2000-02 and once more in 2009-10. LeBron James and the Miami Warmth gained consecutive titles in 2012-13, and the Warriors are the newest crew to attain the feat in 2017-18 at Oracle Area.

Looking forward to subsequent season, who will stand in the best way of Steph Curry and firm becoming a member of that record once more? We record the highest 10 greatest threats:

10. Lakers

I do know, I do know. It is the Lakers. Title favorites heading into final season, the addition of Russell Westbrook to the star duo of James and Anthony Davis fell flat on its face. In an period the place two-thirds of the league make it to no less than the play-in match, the Lakers could not accomplish even that, ending a disappointing 33-49 and in eleventh place within the Western Convention.

However any crew with James, who’s coming into his twentieth season, is a menace. And whether or not you imagine him or not, new coach Darvin Ham insists he ‘s going to search out one of the simplest ways to make use of Westbrook and redefine his recreation his at 33 years previous.

Buying Kyrie Irving in a commerce with the Brooklyn Nets, which each Lakers fan on Twitter believes will occur, would not damage both.

Irrelevant because the days of Kevin Garnett, the Wolves made some noise final postseason by taking the Memphis Grizzlies to 6 video games in a aggressive first spherical.

Minnesota has been the discuss of the offseason after buying and selling a handful of position gamers, 4 first-round picks and 9,999 of the state’s 10,000 lakes to the Utah Jazz for heart Rudy Gobert to pair with Karl-Anthony Cities within the frontcourt.

The commerce for Gobert befuddled consultants across the league because the Wolves are opting to go huge whereas the remainder of the NBA goes small and quick. However what if… they’re proper?

Again-to-back MVP Nikola Jokić is an issue. Denver hasn’t made headlines this summer season like different groups within the West, however the Nuggets upgraded their protection by buying Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith. Additionally they had a implausible under-the-radar signing by luring Bruce Brown away from the Brooklyn Nets in free company.

If Jamal Murray can return to kind after lacking the whole thing of final season whereas recovering from a torn ACL, the Nuggets must be within the combine.

7. 76ers

James Harden, Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey is a reasonably spectacular high 4. Add veteran stopper PJ Tucker, who the 76ers swiped away from the Miami Warmth in free company, and the Sixers are one of many favorites to come back out of the Jap Convention.

It is only a disgrace they missed out on Bo Cruz.

6. Grizzlies

At this level of the summer season final 12 months, I did not have Memphis on my record as a possible rival for the Warriors. However that is been the case because the two groups squared off in a spice-filled six-game collection within the convention semifinals.

Memphis believes it lives “hire free” within the heads of the veteran Warriors. Signing famous person Ja Morant to a five-year rookie max extension value $193 million ought to give the Grizzlies some actual property deep within the playoffs for the subsequent few years, on the very least.

In probably the most Brian Windhorst voice attainable, “What is going on on in Phoenix?”

The Suns did not need to supply Deandre Ayton the rookie max extension this offseason, in order that they let him hit the market as a restricted free agent. On Thursday, the Indiana Pacers supplied Ayton a four-year deal value $133 million, which the Suns shortly matched.

So, as an alternative of giving Ayton a fifth 12 months, Phoenix is ​​paying him over $33 million per season?

Anyway, Chris Paul, Devin Booker and firm will look to bounce again from getting eradicated within the second spherical to the Dallas Mavericks final postseason.

4. Clippers

The return of Kawhi Leonard propels the Clippers up this record and creates one other big within the West.

Leonard missed final season whereas recovering from a torn ACL. In his second season with the Clippers, the five-time All-NBA ahead helped put the franchise in place to advance to the convention finals for the primary time earlier than struggling a partial tear of the ACL in his proper knee.

Keep in mind, it was simply three years in the past when Leonard averaged 28.5 factors per recreation and took down the Warriors within the 2019 NBA Finals as a member of the Toronto Raptors.

RELATED: Watch Klay hilariously maintain golf pose after nailing tee shot

Having performed simply 40 video games during the last three seasons, John Wall is a little bit of a thriller on a two-year deal value $13.2 million. But when he contributes and makes life simpler for Leonard and Paul George, Los Angeles simply might need one thing cooking.

3. Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo.

I might’ve stopped the reason there, however for actual — the Bucks had been one win away from reaching the Jap Convention finals with out their second-best participant, Khris Middleton. Antetokounmpo practically did it himself and was clearly exhausted by the top of that semifinal collection towards the Boston Celtics.

Giving the two-time MVP a number of further weeks of relaxation this summer season did not damage the Bucks’ possibilities heading into subsequent season.

2. Celtics

After making their first Finals look since 2010 and taking the Warriors to 6 video games, the Celtics received higher this offseason.

Boston signed Danilo Gallinari to a two-year deal and accomplished a commerce with the Pacers for guard Malcolm Brogdon, including two robust, veteran gamers who will match proper in with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. That protection goes to be robust, and it would be stunning to see Tatum play so poorly once more in one other Finals like he did towards Golden State.

Boston clearly received higher this offseason. And the Warriors, after shedding key position gamers Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr. in free company, won’t have the ability to say the identical.

1. Kevin Durant

The most important menace to the Warriors’ championship repeat is an previous pal. Durant requested a commerce from the Brooklyn Nets simply hours earlier than free company opened, and NBA Twitter hasn’t been the identical since.

Initially, Durant named the Suns and Warmth as two favored touchdown spots. If he landed in Phoenix or Miami, these groups would seemingly grow to be championship favorites instantly. Even when Durant was traded to the lowly Orlando Magic, that crew would have to be taken significantly.

If Durant stays put with the Nets and provides his partnership with Kyrie Irving one other probability, it isn’t troublesome to think about that crew lastly residing as much as the hype and representing the East.

Or, if the “rumblings” heard throughout the league are true and Durant needs to return to the Warriors and the entrance workplace feels the identical, you’ll be able to delete this record and mark Golden State as back-to-back champs in everlasting marker already.

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