The Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets are supremely talented squads, and this Western Conference final is going to be quite a show.
The Rockets have the home-court advantage due to their superior regular season record, but Vegas is still making the Warriors the favorites to prevail in the series.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr appears to be very confident in his team’s chances to advance to the NBA Finals despite not having home-court advantage in this upcoming series.
Anthony Slater tweeted out that Kerr was asked about the Rockets having more hunger than the Warriors to win this series because they’re seeking their first championship.
Kerr basically replied that he likes the position his team is in because they have the multiple rings and have proven they know what it takes to win.
There’s much to be said about the confidence a team has when they know that they’ve been in a certain situation before. The Warriors have handled the trials and tribulations that come with lengthy playoff runs. They’ve won two championships in three seasons.
The Rockets have not yet made that leap, which is a huge psychological factor to have to overcome, especially against an opponent as talented and experienced as the Warriors.
The counter-argument, however, is that talent ultimately triumphs experience. If the Rockets truly are the better team, they’ll find a way to advance.
The Warriors know full well that experience in high-tension playoff games in years past is not always a prerequisite to a championship.
In 2015, people wondered whether the Warriors would be able to overcome their relative inexperience to claim the title. The old adage in the NBA was that teams essentially had to pay their dues before they would be able to finally win a championship.
A dynasty had to be toppled by a team that had suffered playoff exists in prior years. The late 80s Detroit Pistons finally knocked off the Boston Celtics, and then the early 90s Chicago Bulls eventually vanquished those Pistons.
There was a “wait your turn” approach to deciding championships. Other teams gained experience through brutal playoff exists before their championships were won.
This Warriors squad didn’t really follow that same formula. They made a huge leap in Kerr’s first season as coach, and they’ve pretty much been on top of the basketball world ever since.
It’s not like Mark Jackson’s Warriors were coming up just short year after year before finally breaking through to a championship.
The discussion about the worth of experience doesn’t have to be a black-or-white debate. Experience does matter, but it clearly isn’t everything. The Warriors have won championships as both the fresh-faced newcomers and as the reigning titans of the league.
To discount this Rockets team just because they’ve never been there before is foolish. The Warriors had never been there in 2015, after all.
If the Warriors beat the Rockets this series, it will be more due to their superior talent on the court than the Rockets inexperience.
It’s going to be a fantastic series featuring both teams with much to prove. The Rockets think they’re being discounted, and the Warriors heard all those critics at the end of the regular season saying they were slipping.