Warriors’ 3 biggest threats to the title

Welcome to the 2022 NBA offseason, ladies and gentlemen.

The Warriors are the oddsmakers’ favorites to repeat as champions, but, as with this season, there will be nearly a dozen teams that can lay claim to being a contender.

I don’t know if they all have a claim, but I do see three teams in the Western Conference – let the East take care of itself – that the Warriors should keep a close eye on this offseason, because they represent the strongest threats to the crown:

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE – MAY 1: Memphis Grizzlies ‘Ja Morant (12) takes a shot against Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins (22) in the third quarter of Game 1 of the team’s NBA basketball second-round playoff series at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tenn., On Sunday, May 1, 2022. (Nhat V. Meyer / Bay Area News Group)

Memphis Grizzlies

One could make the argument that the Grizzlies – not the Mavericks or Eastern Conference champion Celtics – provided the Warriors their biggest scare this postseason.

There is certainly an alternate universe where Ja Morant never injures his right knee and Memphis upsets the Dubs in the second round in May.

But Morant did injure his knee, and the Warriors beat the Grizzlies in six games because of it.

What stood out in that second-round series was how valuable Gary Payton II was, or, I suppose, would have been. Payton was injured in the early moments of Game 2 by a cheap-shot flagrant foul from Dillon Brooks that broke the Warrior’s elbow.

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