Golden State Warriors: Where would Carmelo Anthony be the biggest threat?

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 31: Carmelo Anthony
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 31: Carmelo Anthony /
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Golden State Warriors
TORONTO, CANADA – FEBRUARY 14 : Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James have a laugh during a photoshoot before the NBA All Star Game 2016 on February 14, 2016 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images) /

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers with Carmelo Anthony are the biggest threat to the Golden State Warriors because they are the biggest threat without him. Already, LeBron James’ team is the most difficult opponent the Warriors will face. They’ve made it to the NBA Finals three years in a row and, barring some catastrophe, will make it again.

They have the second best trio in the league with James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. Now, completing a trade for Anthony while keeping that Big Three and Tristan Thompson intact will be difficult. But it is possible.

Against the Warriors, Cleveland needs all the help it can get. So, let’s imagine that they can complete the trade without including him. In this scenario, they send J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Channing Frye back to New York.

Cleveland would have some room to play with their starting five. They could go really small and start a unit of Irving, Kyle Korver (?), James, Anthony, and Love. Tyronn Lue could go the unconventional route and start James as the point guard, Irving at the two spot, and Anthony, Love, and Thompson. While that would be fun, it would seem likely that one of either Love or Anthony would have to come off the bench.

Their lack of depth won’t really matter if they have four stars. Sure, they won’t win as many regular season games and may even lose the top seed in the East to the Boston Celtics again, but that doesn’t matter. They’re playing for June.

When James goes to the bench, Cleveland’s offense falls apart. Irving, for as brilliant as he is, just can’t carry the load. Anthony could help him.

There’s no surprise here, but he doesn’t help their defensive problems. The Cavaliers struggled mightily on that end of the floor and could never just flip the switch as they promised they would. Their secret defense never showed itself.

Still, he’s a good rebounder that would really make life difficult for Golden State when Love and/or Thompson are on the floor with him. He’s another guy who can go out and get buckets. Unlike Richard Jefferson or Korver who looked like it was the first time they ever touched a basketball when they received a pass, Anthony won’t be so quick to give up. He can make plays.

The passing will take some time getting used to. The ball might struggle to move even more. In addition to Irving pounding the air out of the ball for twenty seconds, James will have to deal with Anthony holding the ball behind his head fifteen feet away from the rim for the entire shot clock as well.

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Anthony would make them better. Does it put them over Golden State? Unlikely. Their biggest weakness was their inability to defend the Warriors’ weapons. With more of them suiting up for them next year (Nick Young and Omri Casspi), it’ll be hard to imagine them winning four games against the defending champs.

Cleveland couldn’t stop Golden State’s fast break. A 33-year-old Carmelo Anthony won’t fix that However he could help them execute their plan of slowing the game down.

Still, James doesn’t need much to go a long way and Anthony would strengthen his team. Despite that, Warriors in six though.