Let’s face it, the Warriors are favored to win the NBA Finals this year, and it makes sense.
After all, Golden State has made it to the championship four years in a row, and it’s won three of those times.
Players and fans alike have racked their brains for the past few seasons, asking themselves what could dethrone a team that’s not only maintained an amazing core group, but continued to get better.
Things could get interesting this year though. So here are 11 reasons to root for someone other than Golden State.
1. Someone could stop the Warriors’ three-peat
The Warriors have won the last two NBA championships and have a chance to make it three straight in 2019. If they do so, they’ll become the fourth franchise in NBA history to accomplish the feat.
Los Angeles did it once in Minneapolis, MN, before doing it again after moving to California. Boston won an unmatchable eight straight during its prime years in the early 60’s. Lastly, the Bulls were able to three-peat twice under the leadership of the legendary Michael Jordan.
Golden State has been dominant in recent memory, but a loss this year could keep its current group from ascending to the pinnacle of basketball.
Frankly, people are getting tired of the same storyline in the postseason. But not everyone is rooting against the reigning champs.
2. Defeat could spark a Golden State breakup
There’s been plenty of speculation about whether this is the last season the Warriors can keep Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green together.
Rumors are swirling Durant wants to move to New York to begin a new journey, since he’s already won back-to-back MVP awards in the NBA Finals.
Like Durant, Thompson could likely be looking to get a big payday with a max contract after the season.
Tempers flared between Green and Durant early in the season, which added more fuel to the fire. And if that’s not enough drama for you, add DeMarcus Cousins into the mix.
Many question why any player would want to leave such an ideal situation, but imploding on the biggest stage might just send players separate ways. That could make the league a lot more interesting moving forward.
3. You can’t root against LeBron James
James won’t be in the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade. His eight-year streak has been snapped, as the Lakers failed to make the postseason.
The Cleveland native went from homegrown superstar, to supervillain, to hometown hero and back to villain, and many grew to favor the exciting youngsters from Oakland, CA over time.
But now Golden State is the seasoned veteran everyone wants to beat.
James took a risk and received some criticism for his move to Los Angeles, and it didn’t pan out.
Since you can’t root against James, why not root on an up-and-comer to uproot the juggernaut that is the Warriors?
4. There are plenty of other interesting stories
The Warriors have risen from mediocrity to greatness, but other teams have stories to tell as well.
Squads like the Giannis Antetokounmpo-led Bucks and Swiss army knife Nuggets are climbing the ranks to challenge the champs.
“The Process” could be nearing completion in Philadelphia and the Celtics are trying to figure out how to gel at the right time.
The list goes on and on. So there are plenty of surprising stories to follow on the road to the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
5. Root for the future of basketball
The playoffs are where rising stars can really make names for themselves.
We saw it when Donovan Mitchell upset the Thunder last year, and when Jayson Tatum rose to another level of production en route to the Eastern Conference finals.
Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry are on the wrong side of 30, and the rest of Golden State’s starters are getting there.
The Warriors’ stars will undoubtedly remain at the top for a while, but wouldn’t you like to see what comes after them?
6. The resurgence of the Eastern Conference
For the first time in a while, multiple teams in the Eastern Conference have a shot at winning an NBA championship.
Only three Eastern Conference teams that weren’t led by LeBron James have won the NBA Finals in the last 20 years. Staggering isn’t it?
Everyone raves about how dominant the West is, but it’s time to flip the script.
7. Bandwagon following
Having stars and winning games draws fans, and the Warriors are good at both.
Not every Golden State fan has only been around for four years, but quite a few have been.
If you’re a fan from an opposing team, it’s probably frustrating to see casual viewers become superfans in the blink of an eye.
So hopefully an upset can hold off their bragging rights for some time.
8. Golden State is jumping ship
Warriors fans are everywhere, but the most loyal are probably in Oakland.
Since their current location is not the most appealing, Golden State is taking its talents to San Francisco next season, which is about an hour down the road.
It might not be crazy inconvenient for supporters in Oakland, but it’s a change nonetheless.
Even if you’re not a Golden State Fan, you’d probably be upset if your home team left the city that built it up.
9. The ring chasers
The team with the best shot at winning it all usually doesn’t land the top free agents, but Golden State has changed that.
When Kevin Durant joined the Warriors, the power in the NBA shifted tremendously. He knew he’d probably missed his one shot to beat them, so he joined them, and it panned out.
The 2014 MVP now has two rings and could get his third NBA Finals MVP this summer, but he’s not the only one to ride Golden State’s wave of success.
Many were furious when the Warriors landed DeMarcus Cousins as a free agent, giving them five All-Star caliber players. But even role players get flack for considering joining up.
Nick Young and David West are just a few examples of ringless players that achieved their goals by joining Golden State.
Players want rings, but how they get there rub some the wrong way.
10. Draymond Green
Green has been hailed as one of basketball’s most talented defenders, but also has become one of the NBA’s top villains.
The 6-7 utilityman is physical, but has taken heat for some questionable plays in the past, including a swipe to the groin of LeBron James during the 2016 NBA Finals.
Few play the game with as much passion as Green, but he’s built a reputation that’s earned him some disdain from multiple fanbases.
Nevertheless, Draymond will be Draymond, and spectators will have to deal with it.
11. Just to see a new team get the glory
Your team may not be in the playoffs, and that’s ok.
If they are, they might not get out of the first round, and that’s just fine too. But you’d probably prefer to see some parity in the NBA than watch Golden State win again.
Any team that wins this much is bound to draw hate, but competition is good for the sport.
Supporters of teams in the lottery might not watch because they assume the Warriors will win it all again. But sports are about randomness and unpredictability, and the league hasn’t had much of that lately.