Can any­one com­pete with Golden State?

Marysville Appeal-Democrat - - SPORTS - By Di­eter Kurten­bach

OAK­LAND – Are the Den­ver Nuggets re­ally the se­cond-best team in the Western Con­fer­ence?

We all know the War­riors are the best team in the league, which ob­vi­ously makes them the best team in the West – but is Den­ver truly their top com­pe­ti­tion in what is usu­ally a highly-com­pet­i­tive con­fer­ence?

Don’t me wrong – I like the Nuggets and am in­trigued by what they’re do­ing to start this sea­son. But if what we’re see­ing is true – if the Nuggets are truly the se­cond-best team in the Western Con­fer­ence this sea­son – then the War­riors sim­ply don’t have a wor­thy ad­ver­sary on their side of the bracket.

Yes, I know it’s early – I get that there are six months to go in the NBA reg­u­lar sea­son and that noth­ing in this league is cer­tain or guar­an­teed (no mat­ter what the na­tional pun­dits tell you) but the way things are shak­ing out could not be more ad­van­ta­geous to Golden State.

As if this team needed the ex­tra help.

Se­ri­ously, though, I’m flum­moxed – who is go­ing to push the War­riors in the West?

Re­mem­ber the Hous­ton Rock­ets? They were the team that had two games to beat the War­riors once to ad­vance to the NBA Fi­nals last May. Well, they don’t even look like a play­off team right now. They’ve dealt with in­juries and sus­pen­sions, yes, but their of­fense is a mess, their de­fense has been so sham­bolic that poor Jeff Bzde­lik had to come out of re­tire­ment, and they’re re­ly­ing on Carmelo An­thony to be a plus player. That team didn’t just regress – they be­came ac­tively bad. And while it prob­a­bly won’t hold, I can’t take them se­ri­ously as a threat at the mo­ment (and I don’t ex­pect that to change).

Lebron’s Lak­ers? What can I Golden State War­riors’ Stephen Curry and Dray­mond Green cel­e­brate after Curry made a bas­ket be­fore the start of their bas­ket­ball game against the Tim­ber­wolves at Or­a­cle Arena in Oak­land on Fri­day.

tell you that hasn’t been yelled on ESPN for the last three weeks? Head coach Luke Wal­ton seems to be on the hot seat, they’re play­ing Javale Mcgee 25 min­utes per game (we all love Javale, but can you rely on Javale? There’s a dif­fer­ence…), and Lebron has fully em­braced the laid-back Cal­i­for­nia life­style and isn’t play­ing a lick of de­fense. But don’t worry, they have Ra­jon Rondo and Lance Stephen­son….

The Lak­ers might make the play­offs, and any game or se­ries with the War­riors will no doubt be fun – but let’s be se­ri­ous, they’re not an ac­tual ti­tle con­tender. They’re not even close.

Per­haps the Rock­ets will fig­ure it out in the next few weeks. (Ok, the next few months…)

Maybe the Lak­ers will right a ship that was never re­ally on-line. (I’m less op­ti­mistic about that one.)

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