The Golden State Warriors enter next season with renewed focus towards an NBA championship, having made offseason moves that aim to re-establish their playing identity and prioritize their chances of short-term success.
While many have speculated the long-term outlook on the franchise’s blockbuster move to trade Jordan Poole for Chris Paul, many pundits do concede that the deal will make the Warriors a more formidable team in 2023-24.
ESPN experts believe the Golden State Warriors are one of the most likely candidates to topple the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference.
Asked to provide their predictions for which team would come out of the Western Conference, a group of ESPN analysts provided their rankings with the scoring based on five points for a first-place vote, three points for a second-place vote, and one point for a third-place vote.
The NBA champion Denver Nuggets unsurprisingly came out on top with 106 points and 76% of first-place votes, while the Phoenix Suns ranked second with 60 points. Golden State were third with 27 points, sitting ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings.
"“Sitting at third, after leading the list last summer, are the Warriors, who could make another run at the crown after adding Chris Paul to one of the deepest teams”, ESPN wrote."
The ESPN team undertook the same process in regard to the 2024 NBA championship, with the Nuggets tipped to go back-to-back after receiving 80 points and 48% of the first-place votes. The Milwaukee Bucks, facing pressure after recent comments from superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, ranked second with 49 points.
The Boston Celtics, Suns and Miami Heat rounded out the top five, before the Warriors ranked sixth with six points. Eight NBA teams received votes, with the Lakers seventh and the Minnesota Timberwolves surprisingly earning a point.
Golden State’s place in both categories suggests the Paul acquisition is projected to be impactful, at least enough to have experts rank them above the Lakers who defeated the Warriors in the second-round of the playoffs just over three months ago.
The Warriors open their season at Chase Center on October 24 against the Suns, providing an early battle between the two teams most likely to oust the Nuggets at the top of the West.