The Raptors are preparing to do battle with the defending champion Golden State Warriors tonight (preview here!), which means we here in Toronto are getting fired the hell up. Yes, the Warriors will be down two of their key players (including some guy named Steph Curry), but whatever, it’s still a big deal.
To help regulate our emotions, we reached out to SB Nation’s Golden State of Mind team site to answer a few questions about the mood around their team and the season so far. Here’s what Jannelle Moore had to say.
1. Are you still confident in the Warriors’ title aspirations?
JM: Absolutely. Granted, the Warriors have had injuries and infighting and consequently, a four game losing streak. But the good thing about is that it all happened in November vs. May. I actually expected the Warriors to struggle a bit this season because the struggle is the reason why the journey to a three-peat is so hard and why three-peats are so rare. However this is a group that is well aware of history and confident and talented enough to go get it.
2. Outside of the team’s superstar players, which Warrior has really impressed so far this season?
JM: To me, it’s Alfonzo McKinnie. He seized his opportunity and was thriving before his injury. I love his energy on the boards and the confidence to shoot which is important in the second unit.
[Ed. Note: We are absolutely not mad that the Raptors let McKinnie walk this off-season. It’s funny to us actually, we’re laughing about it.]
3. Who is more important to the Warriors’ success this season: Steph Curry or Kevin Durant?
JM: It’s Steph. He’s the one whose presence on the floor makes the offense work. His ability to draw the double teams on and off the ball is what Golden State’s offense thrives off of. Secondly, the Warriors are just so much better offensively with Steph out there on his game and aggressive. Even KD himself said he’s never comfortable playing without Steph.
4. Who are the Warriors’ biggest challengers in the Western Conference?
JM: Right now, it has to be the Thunder. They are a long, athletic team and they always give the Warriors fits every time they play. They always tend to play tough defense against GS and attack the squad in the paint.
5. Are the Warriors actually worried about the Raptors?
JM: I believe the Warriors know that the Raptors are a tough team. Kawhi Leonard is looking solid after his injuries. Lowry is playing well. And Danny Green always plays well. The Warriors know the Raptors are a tough team and play accordingly. Whether that’s worry or respect is up for interpretation.