Hot Shots: Warriors On Pace to Win the 2021-22 NBA Championship

Oh, how quickly they forget.

It’s funny how time works, right? It feels like it wasn’t too long ago when the Golden State Warriors completed a dynasty for the ages, winning three championships in five years.

Since the departure of current Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durantexperts have quickly written off the Warriors, especially since Warriors guard Klay Thompson went down with an ACL tear and Achilles tear a year later.

Fast-forward to the 2021-2022 season, and the Warriors are once again atop the Western Conference, sitting at a comfortable 29-9 record.

Simply put, the Warriors have a lot of depth, which is why they’ll win this season’s NBA championship.

On Aug. 6, the Warriors signed forward Otto Porter Jr. The very same day, they signed forward Nemanja Bjelica. Days later, the Warriors signed fan-favorite forward Andre Iguodalawho was an integral part during their five-year dynasty.

Formerly the third overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Porter Jr. has proven himself as a valuable three-and-D wing. A three-and-D wing provides depth through three-point shooting and defense.

So far, Porter has provided the Warriors with the bench production the team painfully lacked last season.

Through the first 20 games, Porter has averaged 7.5 points and is shooting at a 42.7% clip from three. Porter’s ability to stretch the floor and provide spacing to Warriors superstar guard Stephen Curry has been critical.

The past season’s roster was poorly constructed by the front office because it relied too heavily on Curry. Teams focused all their attention on Curry, playing a 5 on 1 defense, and begging anyone else on the Warriors to make shots.

This year’s story is starkly different. Porter’s hot three-point shooting has earned him the nickname of “Otto-Matic” from fans. Additionally, Porter has been active on the defensive end, allowing the Warriors to play a small ball lineup that has always been successful in the past.

Porter has been a solid contributor, but he was not the only important offseason signing.

Bjelica fits the Warriors system like a glove. The Warriors system emphasizes ball movement and man movement, and with Bjelica’s understanding of ball movement through his experience in Europe, Bjelica transitioned into the Warriors system quite easily.

The Warriors’ early success has also been the result of guard Jordan Poole’s development. While the team awaits for Thompson and center James Wiseman to heal, the Warriors need a secondary scorer to lift the burden from Curry. So far, Poole has answered the bell.

After struggling in his second season, Poole moved down to the G-League where he thrived. Poole’s success in the G-League translated to games that counted this season. In a game versus the Toronto Raptors, he scored 33 points and connected on 8-for-11 from distance.

Poole showed his complete repertoire that game, and while the Raptors held Curry to 12 points, the Warriors still pulled off the victory due to Poole’s excellence.

He’s developed into a three-level scorer and improved his playmaking ability as the secondary ball handler. Poole averaged 18.1 points and 3.4 assists in the early parts of the season.

What other team has this kind of depth? The Warriors have multiple players that can step up in any given night, causing havoc to opponents as they try and scout how to properly defend the team.

It’s scary to think of the potential this team has. Going into the season, experts questioned what type of player Thompson would be when he came back and if the Warriors would survive until then.

The Warriors have put the league on notice. With a more than favorable schedulethe Warriors have taken full advantage and are well on their way to winning another championship.

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Contact Jerry Jiang via Twitter (@j_jiang30) or via email: jerry.jiang@pepperdine.edu

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