Basketball is back!
The 2017-2018 season tipped off on Tuesday night. LeBron LeBron’d, Gordon Hayward suffered a horrible injury, and the current NBA kings received their championship rings. Spoiler alert, they’re amazing.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) October 18, 2017
Honestly though, LeBron James and the Golden State Warriors don’t matter anymore. Why? It’s Wednesday, October 18th now. The San Antonio Spurs play today.
The Warriors will be a focus for the Spurs this season, though. After all, to win in today’s NBA, you have to get through the ‘dubs,’ and they’re the team that
eliminated swept San Antonio from last season’s Western Conference Finals. They are the standard.
Depending on who you ask, the Houston Rockets are also more favored than the Spurs this season (Bovada disagrees for what it’s worth). If you asked anyone easily swayed, they’ll say the addition of Chris Paul makes Houston the prime candidate to challenge Golden State.
Here’s the thing, though. The Rockets acquiring Chris Paul is cool, and it makes them better, but it diminishes the touches of their greatest asset, James Harden.
This is a point I’ve always likened NBA teams to. Adding superstars doesn’t mean they all get to maintain the scoring prowess that made them coveted to begin with. Just because there are more mouths capable of feasting doesn’t mean the size of the pie grows with it.
Harden and Paul together is going to be fun, and it would be awesome to rock in 2k; however, there are only two teams capable of getting quality slices of pie to multiple threats – the Warriors and Spurs.
The recent extension of LaMarcus Aldridge is one of the more polarizing decisions the Spurs have made in recent history, in terms of fallout and fan reaction. The reality is that Aldridge is growing in his ability to eat his piece of the pie, and he’s someone who can handle a big plate.
On paper Harden and Paul easily trump Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard (even though Kawhi is arguably the best of the four). Gregg Popovich tilts that advantage back in the direction of San Antonio though, and while the Rockets will be formidable competition, they will ultimately likely be inferior.
It would be great fun to try and make the argument that the Spurs trump the Warriors in a particular capacity, but the truth is that they don’t. The Warriors are locked, loaded, double locked, and triple loaded. They are, as mentioned, the standard, and undoubtedly the Spurs’ greatest test.
The fun thing is that if anyone is capable of making lemonade with this type of lemon set, it’s Popovich and the Spurs. The NBA is almost rooting for it. We almost got to see it in the Western Conference Finals, and it’s going to be fascinating to watch it unfold should they meet again down the road.