Entering as the 4th seed
Now, it’s time to look at what is shaping up to be a more difficult trip to the Western Conference Finals, entering the playoffs in fourth place.
Things don’t appear to be okay in Utah. The Jazz have been silently imploding from the inside as a rift continues to grow between Donavan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.
However, nothing can fix a team more than tasting some playoff success.
The fact remains that Utah is a dangerous team. They might not enter the postseason as favorites to win but they have the firepower to shoot opponents out of the gym. And, while it is easy to criticize Gobert for his lack of versatility, there is no denying the three-time Defensive Player of the Year can make an impact.
Golden State would have to rise to the occasion early in the playoffs if they draw Utah. Defense needs to be locked in and the Splash Brothers have to be ready for a shootout.
The Phoenix Suns are no joke. Finishing with the best record in the NBA and fresh off a brutal finals loss, the Suns are determined to make it back.
Standing in their way (hopefully) will be the Warriors. There is a well-established history between Chris Paul and Stephen Curry, which makes this potential matchup all the more exciting.
Better yet, Devin Booker has been blazing his own path to superstardom. The 25-year-old is averaging a career-high 26.8 points and has elevated his team on both ends of the floor.
Names like Mikal Bridges, Deandre Ayton, Cameron Johnson and Jae Crowder all play a role in making the Suns one of the most unbeatable teams in the league. Even more, they will hold home court advantage.
The Warriors will have their hands full with a team that is loaded with 3-and-D wings, a defensive anchor in the paint and two crafty guards picking them apart. Avoiding the Suns will be at the top of their wish list as Golden State braces for a trip to the NBA Finals.