While the Golden State Warriors manage to rally and pull off an upset win against the Los Angeles Lakers, the franchises are in different places than they had been over the past handful of seasons.
The Warriors no longer are a juggernaut, having lost Kevin Durant in free agency, and Klay Thompson to another unfortunate injury. Meanwhile, the Lakers are primed to repeat as champions with a bench that is deeper than their title-winning roster.
“I think when you’re defending champs you kind of hold that standard for the league,” Davis said of the Lakers being looked upon as the next potential dynasty.
“I don’t want to say we took over, because the Warriors won three out of four. We haven’t accomplished that yet, but I think whoever the defending champions are kind of hold that standard of what each team wants to become. We have that target on our back this year. Teams are trying to match up to beat the Lakers.
“It comes with the territory when you’re holding the title. We’ve been doing a great job of continuing do what we do and getting better at it to hold that title and keep it here in L.A. Every night we’re going to get the other team’s best shot. We’ve seen that a lot this year with our team.”
Kyle Kuzma added that the Warriors should be taken seriously, especially when Curry is on the floor. “Seeing the Warriors go from multiple Finals appearances to unfortunate injuries that kind of depleted them a little bit, it’s just the cycle of life in the NBA from a team perspective,” Kuzma said.
“It’s very hard to be the San Antonio Spurs and go the playoffs 20-plus years (in a row). Like I said, they had unfortunate injuries, and this year too. But they’re still the Warriors in a sense. They play Warriors basketball anytime Steph’s out there — the greatest shooter ever. They’re still a formidable team.”
The Warriors’ run was one of the best in league history, but the Lakers have an opportunity to do something similar given the talent and experience of the current roster.
However, as Davis noted the purple and gold have only won one title so far and have a long way to go before being called a dynasty themselves.
Frank Vogel on the rise and fall of Lakers, Warriors
Head coach Frank Vogel has been in the league long enough to know not to take being at the top for granted. “There’s times when a team is clearly on top of the league like Golden State was for those five years,” Vogel said.
“But those dynasties don’t always last forever, and at some point, whether it’s injuries, trades or a free agent like KD leaving, the balance of power shifts.
“Last year we felt like the West was wide open because of the injuries and KD leaving. Really the whole league was wide open because of all that. We were able to capitalize on that, win the championship, and obviously we retooled and came back with a strong team again. It’s just part of what this league is about. There’s always a balance and power shifts at certain points.”
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