Moore’s NBA Predictions: Golden State Warriors and the Mirage of Non-Inevitability

Moore’s NBA Predictions: Golden State Warriors and the Mirage of Non-Inevitability article feature image

Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant

  • NBA guru Matt Moore makes a series of predictions leading up to tipoff.
  • Up next: The Golden State Warriors and what version of them we'll see in 2018-19.

When you think they’re invincible, they can be beaten. And when you think they can fall, they win anyway. That’s been the history of the Golden State Warriors under Steve Kerr.

  • 2014-15: Took the league by storm, but still seemed beatable until injuries lined up one series after another for them.
  • 2015-16: Seemed completely invincible to the point where every loss was truly shocking. Eventually suffered the worst collapse in NBA Finals history.
  • 2016-17: Were dominant but uninspiring, bringing questions about how they were beaten before, which meant that even with Kevin Durant, maybe they were beatable again. They weren’t.
  • 2017-18: Played tired and uninspired basketball, barely dragging through an injury-plagued and malaise-filled regular season, only to romp through the first two rounds, come back from down 3-2 to the Rockets when — you guessed it — injuries struck, then they completely annihilated the Cavaliers.

This season’s team will split the difference between last season’s “Ugh, do we have to?” campaign and the 2015-16 tour de force.

The Warriors will be consistently in games when defeat looms, and still wind up pulling out the win. Pundits will see the benefit in being able to plausibly claim the Warriors will lose to the Rockets or Lakers or Celtics or Raptors, then the Warriors will just go ahead and win the title anyway.

This run is over when the Warriors say it is, and to be clear, that will remain true whether or not Durant departs in free agency next summer.

The Warriors were 34-47-1 against the spread last year, putting bookmakers in the unenviable position of having to continue to put massive spreads up for a team that clearly wasn’t invested in covering. That number will likely stabilize this season, in a way that’s bad news for gamblers.

Get ready for a healthy split as the Warriors become even more of a crapshoot with lines so high you want to ride the underdog but with a talent gap so wide you can’t.

Prediction: The Warriors will seem vulnerable and win the NBA championship anyway.