With so many free agents moving to new teams, new players being drafted, as well as some being traded, it still boils down to one question, “Is there a team that can beat the Golden State Warriors?” We’re going to look at a few teams who made some big moves and see if they have what it takes to dethrone the Warriors.
Let’s start with the L.A. Lakers. Obviously, the biggest move they made was adding LeBron James. We know that James alone is not enough to beat the Warriors. They also added veteran players like Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, and Michael Beasley. The Lakers were also able to keep their young core together and not lose any of them by making any trades. So, in keeping their youngsters and adding some proven vets, all while being led by James, the Lakers look to be a very competitive. But when you are facing a team that has a starting rotation of All-stars, this group looks to be a little short on taking them down.
What about the Toronto Raptors? They made the biggest trade of the summer in acquiring Kawhi Leonard. Now the Raptors were able to keep Kyle Lowry, CJ Miles, and Jonas Valanciunas, but they also lost DeMar DeRozan. In my opinion, Leonard is an upgrade (when healthy) over DeRozan. And I think DeRozan is a great player. The only problem with this team is that it is mainly composed of the same players who lost to the LeBron led Cleveland Cavaliers last year. With Leonard in the fold this team got better, but I find it very hard for them to beat the Warriors with this current roster.
Did the Oklahoma City Thunder get better with additions and subtractions? I bring up the Thunder for two reasons. First, they added some quality players in Dennis Schroder and Nerlens Noel. Most likely neither one of these players will start, but they will add some great value to the bench. Second, the Thunder traded Carmelo Anthony. The numbers Anthony put up this year were some of the lowest of his career. For all he did with the Thunder it still didn’t take them to the top of the league. With his subtraction you have now opened more chances for a team who is still being led by Russell Westbrook and Paul George. The Thunder look poised to make a strong run again, but I think they lack what it takes to tumble the Warriors.
The last team to consider is the Houston Rockets. Now you might ask who did they add? Besides adding Michael Carter-Williams and drafting two new rookies, they didn’t add anybody. Actually, they even lost more by letting Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute sign with other teams. But all signs point to them adding Carmelo Anthony. Now I know I said Anthony had posted very low numbers last year. He didn’t really click with the Thunder. But with the Rockets, he doesn’t have to be the superstar he once was. The Rockets are still going to be led by a duo of James Harden and Chris Paul. They are still going to put up their numbers and get their shots. Look at how close they came to dethroning the Warriors last season. All Anthony must do is put up some solid numbers and play defense. I know he has been criticized for not playing defense, but even if they just get average defense from him its an improvement. Overall, this is the team that I think has the best chance of beating the Warriors.
By now we have looked at some of teams that have made blockbuster moves this summer. From the looks of it, most teams have some work to do before they can catch up with the Warriors. Even though the Rockets look close, the Warriors didn’t stay quiet this summer either. Don’t forget they added DeMarcus Cousins. Does any team really have a chance to become new champions? Let’s wait and see!