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Can anyone out west challenge the Warriors this season?

Mark Lindahl, Sports editor

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The Golden State Warriors have now won two championships in the past three seasons, with many more possibly on the horizon while pacing the NBA’s Western Conference. But is this a dynasty in the making, or only a short ride of glory until the team has to split up?

With Kevin Durant re-signing at a bit of a discount to keep the core group of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Durant, who are all All-NBA caliber players together, the Warriors are once again the team to beat.

However, this offseason has been a busy one as teams around the NBA are scrambling to put together a squad capable of competing with the top dogs in the Western Conference.

The first big move was the Oklahoma City Thunder trading 50 cents on the dollar for all-NBA player and defensive stalwart Paul George. After this blockbuster deal, the Thunder kept wheeling and dealing, acquiring elite scorer Carmelo Anthony, who has seen his stock drop due to playing on lottery-bound teams.

With a starting five of Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams, the Thunder look primed to match up against the Warriors.

Westbrook plays with enough tenacity and intensity to give Curry fits any night. Roberson and George, both top level wing defenders, can shimmy between responsibilities in guarding Thompson and Durant. Guarding Draymond will be a challenge for an aging Melo, but having Adams patrolling the paint will ease this burden as Draymond is not lethal from beyond the arc.

While OKC got two All-Star caliber players on the cheap, they did sacrifice their bench depth, and this is where the Warriors have the undisputed edge with a bench stocked full of shooters and versatile wings to plug and play. Signing Patrick Patterson to a team-friendly deal helped soften the blow but no one else on the Thunder’s bench can keep up with the Dubs.

The second big move this offseason was the Houston Rockets trading defensive stalwart Patrick Beverley and a few fillers for Chris Paul, who is regarded around the league as the “point god.”

With Paul joining James Harden, the Rockets now boast arguably the best backcourt in the league.

Along with adding talented wing defenders in P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute, the Rockets have shooters in the starting line up and off the bench who can keep the offense on pace with the Warriors. If starting small forward Trevor Ariza, along with Mbah a Moute and Tucker, can match up well enough defensively with the Warriors’ versatile wings, the Rockets may have a shot at dethroning the champs.

The last team this offseason who really geared up to challenge the Warriors is the Minnesota Timberwolves. After giving up rising star Zach Lavine and young point guard Kris Dunn for two-way stud Jimmy Butler, the Wolves now have a stacked starting line up featuring new additions Jeff Teague and Butler and rising stars Andrew Wiggins, Gorgui Dieng and Karl-Anthony Towns.

The one thing that has been proven to give the Warriors a run for their money is uber-talented big men, which Towns is. If Towns reaches the elite level he will have his way against Zaza Pachulia and Javale McGee, who currently man the center spot for the Warriors.

If the Rockets or Thunder’s offseason additions can mirror the switchability that Golden State’s roster possesses, they might have a chance to come out on top of the west.

But on the flip side, if Karl-Anthony Towns is able to expose the one conceivable weakness in the Warriors armor while having enough firepower behind him, the blueprint may be exposed for the rest of the association.

With so many teams loading up in the arms race this season, it will be a crazy one for sure out in the wild, wild western conference.

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The student news site of Diablo Valley College.
Can anyone out west challenge the Warriors this season?