Warriors, not Nuggets or Suns, named Western Conference favorites by NBA exec
Anonymous NBA exec picks Warriors as favorites to win West originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
In the hours following the Warriors' valiant comeback victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night, one that boosted Golden State to two games over .500, sharpshooter Klay Thompson issued a warning to other NBA teams.
"I promise you this: When we're healthy, no one wants to see us in the postseason," Thompson said on "Warriors Postgame Live." "I promise you that."
It turns out some of his peers agree.
During an interview Wednesday with KNBR's Tom Tolbert and Matt Kolsky, NBA reporter Howard Beck disclosed a relevant conversation he had within league circles.
"I just got off the phone an hour ago with a team executive in the Western Conference, and we were talking about who are the favorites [in the conference]?" Howard said. "He didn’t even mention the Nuggets. He said, ‘I think it’s the Warriors or Clippers.' "
Back-to-back NBA MVP Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets have occupied the No. 1 playoff seed in the West since Dec. 20, but recent playoff flops apparently speak louder than their dominance this season.
Denver has made four consecutive postseason appearances but only advanced once past the second round of the playoffs. The Nuggets defeated the Utah Jazz and Clippers in the NBA bubble, only to fall to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games in the 2020 Western Conference finals.
The Warriors, meanwhile, are the exact opposite. They have struggled to string together any semblance of momentum for more than a few consecutive games this season. Golden State is 32-30 after 62 contests but still features its dynastic core of Thompson, Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, the proud owners of four championship rings.
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"Every bit of data, all the logic, everything, should tell us it’s already over," Beck told KNBR. "The Warriors can’t do this. Nobody gets this deep in the season with that record, and all the stats that go into it ... and still wins a championship. It just doesn’t happen. So by every logical indicator, we should be dismissing them and saying what they’ll do next season.
"But whether it’s sentimentality, whether it’s a stubborn belief in the names and the faces and their resumes that we still see on that roster -- I’m not ready to brush them off. I’m just not."
The Warriors have 20 games remaining to prove the anonymous Western Conference executive correct. They expect to have Curry back healthy sometime next week.
When Curry returns, the Warriors can resume their quest to defend their 2022 title.
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