When the Golden State Warriors tip off their next preseason game against the Denver Nuggets on October 15, they’ll be looking at a team that bears a striking resemblance to their own.
Don’t misunderstand—the Nuggets play a very different style than the Warriors plan to. Few teams get up and down the floor faster than the Ty Lawson-led Nuggets. But in terms of total depth, there probably aren’t two teams more loaded on the bench than these two. Neither squad really boasts a star, unless you’re well-versed in advanced stats on defensive efficiency. For Denver, Andre Iguodala may be the league’s best perimeter defender. And for the Dubs, Andrew Bogut might be the NBA’s most defensively impactful big man. These guys really are stars, just not in the traditional 20-points-per-game sense.
Both the Nuggets and Warriors could easily trot out a 10-man rotation. Just look at all the quality NBA talent on each roster:
PG: Ty Lawson, SG: Andre Iguodala, SF: Danilo Galinari, PF: Kenneth Faried, C: JaVale McGee
Bench: Andre Miller, Corey Brewer, Wilson Chandler, Anthony Randolph, Kosta Koufos
Golden State Warriors:
PG: Steph Curry, SG: Klay Thompson, SF: Harrison Barnes, PF: David Lee, C: Andrew Bogut
Bench: Jarrett Jack, Brandon Rush, Richard Jefferson, Carl Landry, Festus Ezeli
All that depth is great for the regular season, when injuries and fatigue are inevitable factors. But while the Nuggets are projected by just about everyone to win at least 50 games this year, the similarly deep Dubs are only expected to post a win total in the mid-30s. What gives? Sure, the Warriors have a pair of greater injury risks, but they’ve also got more top-notch talent. While I do think the Nuggets could post a monster win total, possibly rising as high as the second seed in the west, I also believe the Warriors are being overlooked, despite their similarity to Denver.
Both squads will have at least a pair of preseason warmups under their belts when they tangle on October 15, so seeing how they match up should be enlightening. If the Warriors hold their own, we should see Vegas and the pundits bump the Dubs’ projected win total up to at least 38 or 39.