Culture of Hoops

No Team Has the Financial Muscle to Challenge the Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors are unstoppable. You can hate them all you want, but that doesn’t change what they are. And you are not wrong if you think their dominance makes the betting odds for next NBA season a little less enticing.

But those are the facts. The NBA salary cap spike of 2016 changed everything for Golden State. By giving the championship team room to add a max contract, the NBA gave Kevin Durant the tools he needed to become something truly devastating. It isn’t just that the collection of talent the Warriors have put them head and shoulders above their competition. Their finances also make them a force to be reckoned with. You don’t often find pundits praising a team’s front office for its victories off the court, but the Warriors’ front office definitely deserves the praise.

The cap spike could have come too early to benefit the Warriors because Durant wasn’t a free agent at the time. It could also have come a little too late, overwhelming the Warriors as they grappled with the free agency of Andre Iguodala and Stephen Curry. Instead, the cap spike arrived at the perfect time to benefit the Warriors, and that wasn’t just luck. Looking at the team’s history, one can see the subtle planning that went into preparing for their dominance in the market.

A team that wants to challenge the Warriors will need more than talent in its ranks to succeed. They need to build perfectly, a feat that takes cunning, wisdom and financial muscle. Many a team have been brought to its knees either because they signed a player to a bloated contract (Timofey Mozgov, for example) or a superstar left their ranks in their prime far earlier than expected (Gordon Hayward). The Golden State Warriors do not allow any bit for error. If you think about it, they only populate their ranks on the court with players who can pose immediate threats. They have no place for athletes that cannot shoot or make quick decisions.

There are very few players in the NBA that have the capacity to go toe-to-toe with Warriors superstars of Curry, Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and that is problematic because only a team that is well-spaced stands any chance of actually stressing Golden State’s defense. In fact, as far as next season is concerned, any team that doesn’t have at least two stars under contract has little chance of bringing on board suitable talent in time to challenge Golden State. One must keep in mind that contracts trend upward, and keeping powerful talent on a team without frequent raises is difficult, let alone attracting new talent to a team.

It takes a keen sense of awareness to know when to re-sign players and when to send them packing. Golden State’s current success was several years in the making, thanks to excellent drafting. There is no team in the NBA today that is capable of gathering the talent and the power that the Warriors currently boast. And it isn’t a matter of will but, rather, finances. One can only imagine the hell the Warriors front office goes through to balance the books. Maneuvering that many hefty contracts requires talent and foresight.

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