The Golden State Warriors have exceeded expectations this season, getting better as a unit on their way to the NBA Finals. Steph Curry is undoubtedly at the center of the system, but a list of factors has led to the team’s success.
The Warriors have a roster that costs just under $176 million in taxable salaries, per Spotrac. They are just over the $39 million luxury tax threshold, so their luxury tax bill is just over $170 million, adding up to roughly $346 million for the current roster. This gives the Warriors an avenue to get ahead of the competition.
“Andrew Wiggins, he’s not an underdog. He makes $32 million. While the Warriors were down these last couple of years – winning no (playoff) games – they kept spending money, because they’ve got it. They re-signed Draymond Green; they re-signed Steph Curry; they re-signed Kevon Looney; they kept Andrew Wiggins.”
Game 5 could easily be Andrew Wiggins’ best game of the playoffs, dropping 26 points and grabbing 13 rebounds as Golden State took a 3-2 series lead. His defensive capabilities are another area where he is considered reliable, which speaks volumes about his impact. Golden State topped Boston 104-94 on Monday night. Game 6 is on Thursday in Boston.
Windhorst gave credit to the Warriors for keeping Wiggins, the No. 1 pick in 2014, but also touched upon the difficulty of beating an expensive roster:
“Andrew Wiggins with the supreme moment in his career, he was a throw-in in the trade. Others would have totally gotten rid of him. They stuck with him.
“They have a $340 million payroll, when you consider taxes. You don’t just have to beat the Warriors on the court, you gotta beat their checkbook. And, nothing away from Andrew Wiggins tonight, but this was a checkbook win for the Warriors.”
The Golden State Warriors have shown great defensive strength in the NBA Finals
The Boston Celtics stood out against the Miami Heat in an equally strong defensive match-up due to their offensive output. Apart from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Boston got effective contributions from Marcus Smart, Al Horford and Derrick White. But against the Warriors, the Celtics offense has been inconsistent.
Tatum and Brown’s shooting percentage has dropped significantly against Golden State. Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green have lived up to their expectations defensively, with Kevon Looney and Gary Payton also on the Celtics’ list of challenges.
The Celtics have had more than 15 turnovers in each of their losses in this series, which the Warriors have been capitalizing on. Boston now faces elimination at home, and protecting the ball should be one of its top priorities.
The Warriors have been working as a cohesive unit on defense, with Green being their anchor. However, Wiggins will have all eyes on him, given the responsibility of guarding Tatum, who can explode offensively.