The Golden State Warriors start this Tuesday night the season of the NBA with only one goal: to add his third consecutive championship and the fourth in five years against Lebron James, now in Los Angeles Lakers and main threat next to Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics.
Those of the Bay of San Francisco aspire to equalize the deeds of Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant from 2000 to 2002, precisely with the Lakers, the last team to string together three consecutive titles, the second-longest streak of all time.
Only the Lakers, in Los Angeles (2000-2002) and in Minneapolis (1952-1954), and the Chicago Bulls by Michael Jordan twice (1991-1993 and 1996-1998) were capable of a similar milestone, with the Boston Celtics from 1959 to 1966 holding the absolute record, with eight straight titles.
The only one capable of ending the hegemony of the Warriors was LeBron James in 2016. Along with Kyrie Irving – then also in Cleveland – the 'King' dethroned Golden State. A few months ago, he decided to undertake what will probably be his last adventure in the NBA: Dress the historic purple and gold coat of Los Angeles Lakers.
James will turn 34 on December 30 in Hollywood, surrounded by a team full of young talents like Brandon Ingram or Lonzo Ball, accompanied by a plethora of veterans like Rajon Rondo or Lance Stephenson, arrived with one-year contracts to try to put the Warriors in trouble. However, LeBron senses that they are still far from competing for the title, and the project seems to be living its first steps.
"We have a long road ahead to be able to win the Warriors. Golden State is Golden State, they have been together for several years now. We have to focus on being better every day and, over time, put ourselves in a position to win the ring, as they have done in recent years, "James told the press.
The Warriors know that they may be facing, perhaps, the last chance to continue enlarging their legend, since Kevin Durant, MVP the last two final, and Klay Thompson, the second member of the "Splash Brothers" together Stephen Curry, they finish contract next summer.
In case they had little artillery, the current champions were reinforced during the preseason with the dominant interior DeMarcus Cousins, who is still recovering from a tear in his Achilles tendon but who, when healthy, will complete a fearsome quintet on paper, with five All-Stars in his ranks, as well as luxurious extras like Andre Iguodala or Shaun Livingston.
Today, the Houston Rockets by Chris Paul and James Harden they seem to be the best prepared in the Western Conference to embarrass the current champions, as they did last season, forcing them to a seventh game in the final of their zone.
The Spurs, without the retired Manu Ginóbili, Tony Parker -Now in the Charlotte Hornets- Kawhi Leonard -transferred to the Toronto Raptors-, they are part of the second group of teams that will try to make noise in the West. Already without the Argentine, the Spanish Pau Gasol is called to take a step forward for his experience and veteran, becoming the benchmark of a team that also lost in recent years to the legendary Tim Duncan.
While, in the East, Irving Celtics, Gordon Hayward, the Dominican Al Horford and the young Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are the great favorites of his conference, with the Raptors and the Sixers of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons as top opponents.
As for the rest of Spaniards, Marc Gasol will again be the reference of Memphis Grizzlies, since the big contract he signed in his day with the franchise made him the star of his team. Another veteran is José Manuel Calderón, which faces its fourteenth season, this year in the Pistons, the same franchise in which it was already in 2013. The base will assume a secondary role, similar to the Mallorcan escort Álex Abrines in Oklahoma Thunder.
The brothers Hernángomez they also point high. Willy wants to confirm in New York the good feelings he showed in his first season while Juancho will seek to take advantage of the minutes he has in Denver. Serge Ibaka He is celebrating his eighth year in the NBA in a franchise, Toronto Raptors, where he should once again be fundamental in defense.
Those who are expected to take another step forward after the great seasons they offered last year are Ricky Rubio in Utah and Nikola Mirotic in New Orleans Pelicans. Both the guard and the guard aim to be decisive in their teams, especially Rubio. After an irregular passage through Minnesota, his transfer to the Jazz revitalized his game and has made him one of the most followed foreign players in the NBA.