With the Denver Nuggets the rightful favorite in the Western Conference heading into next season, the Golden State Warriors are one of a number of teams looking to dethrone the NBA champions.
The Warriors have re-established a win-now approach this offseason, and although it may come at the cost of greater long-term success, it should at least make them a greater threat in 2023-24.
The Golden State Warriors appear to be the consensus fourth-best team in the Western Conference at this point of the offseason.
Golden State were eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the Conference Semifinals last season, and their place in various power rankings seemingly reflects that result. Although the Warriors will lay claim to being better than the Lakers next season, it’s hard to justify labelling them the better team before tip-off in late October.
A bigger argument can be made around Golden State and another pacific rival in the Phoenix Suns. Both were eliminated in the second-round of the postseason and will be compared at length given the links each team have with Chris Paul and Kevin Durant.
In the NBA’s official power rankings, writer John Schuhmann has the Warriors fourth in the West behind the Nuggets, Lakers and Suns. While the addition of Paul should bring an exciting new element, there’s still plenty of uncertainty surrounding the 38-year-old’s role with the team.
"“Whether or not Paul is in the starting lineup, they can stagger his minutes with those of Curry. But they’ll still be on the floor together a decent amount and on some critical possessions. It will be fascinating to see how the offense works in those moments”, Schuhmann wrote."
ESPN’s most recent power rankings also has Golden State fourth in the West, though acquiring Paul has seen them move above the Memphis Grizzlies from initial rankings undertaken directly after the NBA Finals.
Denver is clearly the team to beat in the West heading into next season, but you could foreseeably throw a blanket over a plethora of teams in the next rung below. Golden State is well and truly in that mix along with Phoenix, both Los Angeles teams, Memphis and the Sacramento Kings.