Utah Jazz: Way too early predictions for 2019-20 Western Conference standings

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 09: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets tries to drive through the defense Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz in the first half of a NBA game at Vivint Smart Home Arena on April 09, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 09: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets tries to drive through the defense Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz in the first half of a NBA game at Vivint Smart Home Arena on April 09, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images) /
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TORONTO, CANADA – MAY 30: Stephen Curry #30 and Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors high five during Game One of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors on May 30, 2019 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA – MAY 30: Stephen Curry #30 and Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors high five during Game One of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors on May 30, 2019 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) /

7. Golden State Warriors

It honestly feels wrong putting the Golden State Warriors this low on the list. Considering they’ve been to five straight NBA Finals, the seventh seed doesn’t seem to do them justice. That said, I believe that once the playoffs roll around, they’ll be as deadly as anybody. And if they do indeed end up seventh, we might witness the most unlucky two-seed of all time.

Because let’s face it, although Kevin Durant made the Warriors feel nearly invincible, it was a team whose core was comprised of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green that went 73-9 in the regular season one year after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. This is still a daunting team, and on top of that they added All-Star D’Angelo Russell into their fold.

Nevertheless, there are some pressing issues that led to me picking them to drop to seventh in the regular season standings. First of all, Klay Thompson suffered an ACL tear in the NBA Finals that will have him sidelined until well into the new season. When he comes back, he’ll almost certainly be on a mission and as deadly as ever, but while he’s absent the Warriors will definitely drop some games as a result.

Not only that but while the Russell/Curry backcourt could be daunting on offense, they’re going to struggle defensively. That’s especially true considering that Thompson won’t be around to help lock down the perimeter for much of the season.

Last of all, the veteran depth losses such as that of Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, two guys that were critical to the Warriors’ consecutive Finals runs, are going to hurt Golden State’s bench significantly. Add all this together, and I’d expect some early losses and turbulent times for the Warriors to start off the season.

However, Curry will likely be in the thick of the MVP conversation this year, Green is still as versatile as they come, and this team figures to remain staunch. Factor in Klay’s return and I believe they’ll still easily make the playoffs and could very well play spoiler against a higher seed in the first round.