Latest Sports Scores

Scoreboard

  • ALL
  • NBA
  • NFL
  • NHL
  • NBA
  • NHL
  • Final
    OTT2
    NJ1
  • Final
    PIT3
    CAR1
  • Final
    MTL3
    NYR2
  • Final
    EDM1
    TB4
  • Final
    WPG4
    TOR5
  • Final
    NYI3
    DET1
  • Final
    CGY6
    NSH5
  • Final
    CHI5
    MIN3
  • Final
    LA2
    COL1
  • CBK
  • Final
    PURDUE74
    PSU70
  • 2/21 6:00 PM EST
    URI0
    LASAL0
  • Final
    SC66
    FLA81
  • Final
    OKLA54
    BAYLOR60
  • Final
    CLEM70
    VATECH71
  • Final
    EVAN83
    WICH109
  • Final
    NW50
    ILL66
  • Final
    KTY72
    MIZZOU62
  • Final
    IND90
    IOWA96

AOL.com's Preseason NBA Power Rankings: 1. Golden State Warriors

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Stephen Curry Throws Halfcourt Underhanded Alley-Oop to Andre Iguodala


The time has finally come. With NBA basketball upon us beginning tomorrow, we can finally wrap up our team preview and ranking series. With the San Antonio Spurs coming in at No. 2 on Friday, there's only one spot left to fill.

And it goes to the defending champs.



Toronto Raptors v Golden State Warriors

The top of the Western Conference has been the cream of the NBA's crop for years, but this season may present the stiffest competition ever. But there's only one team that rose above it all to take home a title last year -- and that team is returning almost all of its core from 2014-15.

But still, for some reason, an oddly small number of people expect the Warriors to repeat in 2016. Even with the reigning MVP only getting better, Klay Thompson only due to improve with another season in Steve Kerr's system, and Draymond Green entering his second full-season as a starter.

Listen to the AOL Sports team discuss all 30 teams:


Somehow, in 2015, the Warriors' first-ranked defense flew under the radar, as so much attention was drawn to their three-point happy offense -- and if any team would be able to win a title with such an attack. But their defending is exactly what pushed that team to a championship-level -- as they were still able to lock teams down even when their jumpers wouldn't fall.

SEE ALSO: How every NBA team can be tied to a Taylor Swift song

According to NBA.com, the Warriors ranked just outside the top-third of the league in limiting opponents attempts inside the restricted area. On those attempts, their 58.5 percent field-goal percentage allowed was ninth-best in the league. They also did well forcing shots from the inefficient midrange area -- their opponents took the fifth-highest total of jumpers from that area.

On the flip side, the Warriors' offense ranked just 15th in attempts from the restricted area, but connected on those shots at the second-highest percentage in the league -- while taking the ninth-lowest amount of mid-range jumpers.

They ranked fourth in attempts and second in makes from three -- making those shots at a league-leading 39.8 percent pace over the full season.

While Curry and Thompson clearly picked up most of the scoring, Golden State still sported a well-rounded attack. Five different players posted scoring averages in double-digits, while Curry led the team in minutes with just 32.7 a night. In several ways, Kerr's unit was as Spursian we've seen a team outside of San Antonio since Gregg Popovich took over nearly two decades ago.

With David Lee as the only major personnel subtraction -- and even he was a sporadic contributor, averaged just 18 minutes over 49 games -- the Dubs are fully capable of storming through the West again -- even despite improvements across the top of the conference.

One looming issue is Steve Kerr's absence entering the season. Kerr's return date is still unknown after taking a medical leave of absence earlier this preseason, assigning Luke Walton head coaching duties in the interim. Also factoring in the loss of Alvin Gentry -- new Pelicans head coach -- the team will be without their top two coaching personalities from a championship campaign. If there's any team with sufficient talent to overcome this scenario, it's Golden State. But it's still a situation worth keeping tabs on.

Their competition will be better, but barring any significant dropoff stemming from the coaching instability, so will the Warriors. And until they pose a legitimate reason to convince us otherwise, they're in the best shape to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy.

More NBA Power Rankings and Previews:
AOL.com's Preseason NBA Power Rankings: 2. San Antonio Spurs
AOL.com's Preseason NBA Power Rankings: 3. Cleveland Cavaliers
AOL.com's Preseason NBA Power Rankings: 4. Houston Rockets
AOL.com's Preseason NBA Power Rankings: 5. Los Angeles Clippers
Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners