Warriors Win West, Reach NBA Finals in Insider’s ‘Bold Prediction’

Steph Curry, Warriors

Getty Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.

The Golden State Warriors are gelling as they approach the stretch run of the regular season and for those looking to hop on a bandwagon, the time is now.

ESPN’s Fantasy Staff jumped into the “bold predictions” game on Sunday, February 25 and authored a doozy for the Dubs.

“The Warriors entered the All-Star break having won eight of 10 games, and the recent lineup change promoting rookie Brandin Podziemski over Klay Thompson is smart. It should energize both players,” the fantasy staff wrote. “Stephen Curry is playing great. Jonathan Kuminga is breaking out. Draymond Green is staying out of trouble.”

Heading into its game against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, February 25, Golden State was +2000 to win the West and represent the conference in the NBA Finals for the seventh time in the last 10 years — a wager on which ESPN analyst Eric Karabell advised calculated risk-takers to jump.

“Nobody is going to want to play the Warriors,” Karabell wrote. “Watch them win the West.”

Warriors on Rise as Steph Curry/Draymond Green Duo Gets Back to Business

Draymond Green (right) and Steph Curry of the Warriors

GettyDraymond Green (right) and Steph Curry (left) have led the recent resurgence of the Golden State Warriors.

The All-Star break hasn’t yet affected Golden State’s winning ways, as the team returned to the court with back-to-back double-digit victories over the Los Angles Lakers and Charlotte Hornets.

Curry, a perennial MVP candidate and two-time winner of the award, is not currently among top 11 contenders for Most Valuable Player, according to ESPN’s latest straw poll. That said, he is unquestionably improved offensively by Green’s consistent presence on the court and could at least play his way back into the conversation for the league’s most prestigious individual honor if the Dubs continue to win at their current clip.

Curry has finished top 10 in MVP voting in nine of the last 10 seasons, failing to do so only in 2019-20 when injury sidelined him for all but five games. Additionally, the 10-time All-Star is averaging 27.8 points per game and shooting nearly 42% from behind the arc on 12 attempts per game, according to Basketball Reference.

Warriors’ Defense, Young Players Propelling Team Into Serious Contention in West

jonathan kuminga dfs

GettyJonathan Kuminga of the Golden State Warriors.

And it is much more than just Curry, or even just the Warriors’ offense, that has propelled the team to this most recent and crucial run.

NBA.com took a deep dive into the Dubs’ winning streak on February 12, at which point Golden State had reeled off a 7-3 record over its previous 10 games. For context, the team is also 4-1 since the website’s examination.

At the time, the Warriors put together the second-best net rating in the NBA over the 10-game span (9.7). Another key point, Golden State was fifth in offensive net rating at 121.1 and third in defensive rating at 111.1, joining the Boston Celtics as the only team to earn top five ratings in both categories.

Equally important, the combination of offensive and defensive success is a tell-tale sign of a deep playoff run for the Warriors. The Dubs have been championship-level contenders every time they put a borderline top-10 defense on the court.

Beyond that, Podziemski has been lights out during his rookie campaign. The shooting guard has now started 16 games for the Dubs, averaging 10 points per outing on 46% from the field and 37.5% from the 3-point line. He has added 5.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 0.8 steals per game on 26.6 minutes played.

Meanwhile, Kuminga has produced career highs in points (15.7) and field goal percentage (52.7%) and has been consistently explosive across 28 starts and 25.6 minutes per night.

The Warriors were 29-26 and occupied the No. 9 spot in the West heading into their home contest against the Nuggets on Sunday night.

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