Stephen A. Smith: Only 1 thing stopping Warriors from winning NBA title


MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – JULY 11: ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith during Game Three of the NBA Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns at Fiserv Forum on July 11, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 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 Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — One week into the young NBA season, the Golden State Warriors are 4-0.

The team is riding its best start since 2015-16 when it won an NBA-record 73 games and 24 straight to begin the season.

Stephen Curry is doing his typical thing of averaging 29 points per game but also adding a team-high 8.3 rebounds.

ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith is riding the hype of the Warriors’ train and is making bold predictions early in the season.

Smith said the Warriors “might win it all” during an episode of First Take Tuesday morning, stating that star guard Kyrie Irving returning to the Brooklyn Nets is the only thing stopping them.

The snippet could be found on Smith’s Twitter page and his 5.5 million followers in which the proclamations start around the video’s 30-second mark.

Smith cites the Warriors’ ability to hit shots and make free throws as reasons he likes them over preseason conference favorite Los Angeles Lakers who made an offseason splash by acquiring nine-time All-Star Russell Westbrook.

Obviously, the big caveat is if sharpshooter Klay Thompson comes back healthy from his torn ACL and Achilles.

Thompson missed both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons but has averaged over 20 points per game in each of the five seasons prior, according to Basketball-Reference.

Assuming Thompson returns to All-Star form, Smith said the only team stopping the Warriors from winning this year’s NBA Finals is a fully-loaded Nets squad.

However, Brooklyn also faces its fair share of ‘ifs.’

Irving is currently unable to play for the Nets because he is unvaccinated against COVID-19 and is banned from playing in home games due to local New York City mandates.

The Nets decided on Oct. 12 Irving will not be a part of the team until he gets vaccinated.

If Irving returns to the Nets, he joins former NBA MVPs James Harden and Kevin Durant.

Before the season started, Golden State was given the third-best odds — tied with defending champion Milwaukee Bucks (+900) — to win it all, according to BetMGM via Vegas Insider.

The Nets were picked as the preseason favorites, and the Lakers were second.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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January 01 2022 12:00 am