Warriors, not Nuggets or Suns, named Western Conference favorites by NBA exec

Anonymous NBA exec picks Warriors as favorites to win West originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

In the hours following the Warriors’ gallant comeback victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night, one that lifted Golden State to two games over .500, sharpshooter Klay Thompson issued a warning to other NBA teams.

“I promise you this: If we’re healthy, nobody wants to see us in the postseason,” Thompson said on “Warriors Postgame Live.” “I promise you that.”

As it turns out, some of his colleagues agree.

During an interview Wednesday with KNBR’s Tom Tolbert and Matt Kolsky, NBA reporter Howard Beck revealed a pertinent conversation he had within league circles.

“I just got off the phone with a team manager in the Western Conference an hour ago and we were talking about who the favorites are. [in the conference]Howard said. “He wasn’t even talking about the Nuggets. He said, “I think it’s the Warriors or Clippers.” “

Back-to-back NBA MVP Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets have occupied the No. 1 playoff spot in the West since Dec. 20, but recent playoff flops apparently speak louder than their dominance this season.

Denver has made four consecutive postseason appearances, but has progressed past the second round of the playoffs only once. The Nuggets defeated the Utah Jazz and Clippers in the NBA bubble, but fell in five games in the 2020 Western Conference Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Warriors, meanwhile, are the exact opposite. They’ve struggled to keep any semblance of momentum together for more than a few consecutive games this season. Golden State is 32-30 after 62 games, but still has its dynastic core of Thompson, Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, the proud owners of four championship rings.

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“Every piece of data, all the logic, everything, should tell us it’s already over,” Beck told the KNBR. “The Warriors can’t do this. No one gets that deep into the season with that record, and all the stats that go with it…and still win a championship. It’s just not happening. So by any logical indicator, we should dismiss them and say what they’re going to do next season.

“But whether it’s sentimentality, whether it’s a stubborn belief in the names and the faces and their resumes that we still see on that roster — I’m not ready to brush them off. It’s just not me.”

The Warriors have 20 games left to prove the anonymous Western Conference executive right. They expect to have Curry back healthy sometime next week.

When Curry returns, the Warriors can resume their quest to defend their 2022 title.

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