The Golden State Warriors are trailing the Houston Rockets after one in Houston.
While the game is far from decided, it’s worth considering how a Warriors loss impacts the Western Conference landscape.
If the Warriors do lose tonight’s game 7, they will have won two fo the four Finals they’ve appeared in since their breakout 2015 season. That can’t sit well with Warriors brass or Steve Kerr. There’s no reason this team shouldn’t have won all four.
That’s accounting for the LeBron factor which we’re once again seeing in full bloom.
The breakup of the dynasty could begin this offseason on the heels of a Western Conference Finals loss. Kevin Durant has already balked at the idea of taking reduced salary again to stay with Golden State. KD is a hard read but he couldn’t be blamed for feeling like he’s taken enough of the financial sacrifice necessary to keep this team together.
Steve Kerr may decide health issues and the grind outweigh the reward and step aside.
The cushion the Denver Nuggets had to improve and gain some playoff experience in 2018-19 to get to next summer and some financial breathing room could evaporate.
What this means is that Malik Beasley, Juancho, Monte Morris, Torrey Craig and Tyler Lydon need to find their NBA-ness, now. We need three of those five to turn into productive bench players this season.
We need one of them (Juancho, hi!) to push to start at small forward.
Denver doesn’t have any cap room this season. It will be difficult to move Faried, Chandler or Arthur’s contracts.
Our best hope for offseason moves is to unload one of the above with our 14th pick and secure a mid-level free agent forward that fits the Nuggets.
Worst-case is we roll into next season with the same roster minus Barton. This is specifically why it’s so important that the Nuggets recent draft crop step up.
I know Nikola Jokic is prepared for this upcoming season. He’s not playing for the Serbian National team in qualifiers this summer and will be back in Denver to work. A recent photo shows a very lean Joker. Quickness and bounce would be gravy for the Nuggets star center. The possibilities are exciting.
Jamal Murray has dedicated his first healthy professional offseason to improving his three point shot.
Gary Harris returns healthy, confident and paid.
We know what we have in the core, they are going to be pressed into service sooner than expected should the Warriors fall.
There are a lot of people in Denver that don’t believe this team has the chops to compete. I like to remind those people that the Nuggets were three wins from a 3 seed this year. With the flawed coach and the guards that don’t play their size and the clueless coach, these Nuggets were every bit as good as every team in the West, save Houston and Golden State.
Ask not for whom the bell tolls, young Nuggets, it tolls for thee.