Why Stephen A. gives the Warriors “significantly more than a puncher’s chance” and what could make them better than the Lakers
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Why Stephen A. gives the Warriors “significantly more than a puncher’s chance” and what could make them better than the Lakers

“I have so much respect for Curry, Draymond and Thompson, that I think they would have a puncher’s chance.” Zach Lowe added the “would” part primarily because Klay needs to stay healthy for the Warriors to have a shot in the West. Lowe added a few more caveats, such as Wiggins going up half a step and one of the young additions making a significant leap because he knows the Warriors being Finals contenders is a hot-ish take. So when Stephen A. Smith started by saying “I disagree,” Lowe instinctively repeated “disagree” in the background, like he expected pushback. But, Stephen A. went in another direction. 

“I give them significanlty more than a puncher’s chance.”

Stephen A. Smith, The Lowe Post

Lowe enthusiastically pointed out he was being conservative, obviously happy that Stephen A agrees with him that the Warriors are being overlooked. Smith proceeded to state he considers Klay Thompson to be one of the five best shooters in NBA history and Steph the best shooter ever. (That’s why Stephen A made a passionate case for Steph to “be up there with MJ”) He then pointed out one crucial stat that makes the Warriors deadly in the Playoffs. 

“I keep emphasizing this, and it annoys me actually that basketball lovers don’t add more credence to what I say about this point – free throws matter, and those brothers don’t miss.” 

Stephen A. Smith, The Lowe Post

We’ve all heard it a million times – “free throws win games.” Yet, how often do you look at a team’s free throw percentage when thinking about their chances to win a game? The same goes for rebounding, by the way. Well, Stephen A. thinks free throw shooting is not only the Warriors’ big strength but could become crucial in a matchup against the prohibitive favorite in the West. 

“You got LeBron who shot 67% from the free-throw line and has been struggling on that level for the past three years and is a career 73% shooter. Russell Westbrook shot 65% from the free-throw line last season. I suspect he’ll be better, but it happened. If Klay and Steph were below 85% it would be back-page news. These guys don’t miss free throws – those kind of things matter!”

Stephen A. Smith, The Lowe Post

With the Splash Brothers reunited, Draymond orchestrating the defense and playmaking on offense, James Wiseman improving, and Andrew Wiggins giving consistent effort, the Warriors have a good of a chance as anyone. Last year, Steph was playing on an MVP level and almost dragged what was effectively a G-League team to the Playoffs. 

This year’s Warriors have an NBA roster and hopefully a healthy Klay Thompson. That’s enough for them to look at the West and say, “Why not us?” I agree with Smith and Lowe, the Warriors have significantly more than a puncher’s chance, and the NBA is better for it.