LAs power play will garner plenty of attention, but the race for the Western Conference crown is comprised of a deep field

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Remember five months ago when the Golden State Warriors were healthy with a full Hampton’s 5 lineup and on the brink of constructing a full-fledged dynasty? Yeah, me neither.

Now Kevin Durant is in Brooklyn, Andre Iguodala is…well listed on the Grizzlies’ roster but potentially touring Europe for all we know, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry are on the shelf, and Draymond Green is…wait is Draymond a truly sympathetic figure? Impossible.

Another summer whirlwind sent Top 20 stars on the move across the league with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Anthony Davis constructing LA power duos folks have slobbered with attention. Even outside of the two LAs, the Western Conference still has plenty of other candidates with legitimate cases to benefit from the Warriors’ demise and book an NBA Finals trip. …

What adjustments can Golden State make to scrape together enough of a scoring punch versus Toronto’s swarming defense

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Sabotage their roster with injuries, rip out their soul with the cruelest of injuries, and pit them against their most ferocious adversary yet…fine, but the Warriors aren’t going to die easily.

The narrative out of Game 5 was a Golden State fight for survival only describable through the franchise’s years of rising to the occasion when their dynasty seemed most dire. …

Where Giannis still has room to grow, where Jokic is underappreciated and more

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If you’re new to the program, the idea of Basketball Bits is to provide short and quick but detailed analysis on NBA-related trends, sets, plays, concepts/strategies, players, sometimes larger thought points and basically just whatever comes to mind or catches my eye. Ideally, it will spotlight about 3–5 things that will offer a speedy but insightful read.

  1. Giannis’ next frontier

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s journey to super-duper stardom always comes back to his jumper (And whew boy, something may be brewing; he’s a hit a 3 in 8 of his last 12 games). Yes, even a workable pull-up midranger would alleviate some sticky, late-clock situations, while a mildly makeable catch-and-shoot 3-ball would be an influx of furthered dynamism to the Bucks’ spread system. But Antetokounmpo’s next frontier as a star is probably his playmaking, an element of his game that has progressed leaps and bounds, but hasn’t crested the authoritative, game-altering levels of the game’s greatest creators, such as LeBron James and James Harden. OK, asking Giannis to be LeBron or Harden — maybe two Top 10 passers in NBA history — is recklessly ambitious, but Antetokounmpo still has another plausible level he can reach as an all-around offensive commander considering the amount and type of defensive attention his bulldozing attacks draw. …


Bradley Heltzel

Sports Writer for Times West Virginian newspaper. Sports Journalism Major- Marshall University

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