When #Kevin Durant joined the #Golden State Warriors in the offseason, it was instantly assumed by many that they would easily become champions. However, the Warriors hit a rough patch right from the start of the season but gradually built chemistry and started gelling midway through.
Even though Golden State began to win games, they were not playing at the level they did last season -- maybe because they set the bar really high. Nonetheless, the Cleveland Cavaliers were still looking like the team to beat halfway through the season, with their tremendous team chemistry and elite play by the big three.
Now that Cleveland has been slumping, the Warriors look like clear favorites again.
Without Durant, they currently possess a 10-game winning streak, most recently beating the Houston Rockets twice and the #San Antonio Spurs on the road on the second night of a back-to-back. But, that's not why the Warriors should be considered heavy favorites.
The offense and defense
The Warriors are second in defensive efficiency, slightly behind the San Antonio Spurs, and first in offensive efficiency. Anytime you have team performing at a high level on both ends of the court, you can bet that they are going all the way. It's amusing how the Warriors have kept up this pace even without Durant. Andre Iguodala has become a major contributor to their recent success, and the team's overall defense has been nearly flawless.
Furthermore, Golden State is still by far ahead of everyone in the league in assists, averaging 30.4 per game as a team. The chemistry is at its best at the perfect time, with the season slowly coming to a close.
Now all they need is to incorporate Durant back into the offense, and they should be well on their way to another championship.
Number one in other categories
The Warriors also rank first in points per game, steals, and blocks, which ties in with the defensive and offensive efficiency. Additionally, they are first in effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage as well.
With or without Durant, the Warriors are clearly the best basketball team in the league today. They made a statement by beating the Rockets on the road one night, and then the Spurs the night after. With Cleveland having troubles, ranking 23rd in defensive efficiency, Golden State has clearly become the team to beat. It's scary how good they will look once again when Kevin Durant returns to the lineup.