Where Warriors land in ESPN's early 2021 NBA power rankings


We know that the 2020 NBA Draft will be held on Nov. 18. But we don't know when free agency will begin, what the salary cap/luxury tax numbers will be, if fans will be allowed to attend games and/or the date for Opening Night.

Needless to say, there remains much uncertainty surrounding the 2020-21 NBA season. But we do have a general idea of who will be the top teams in each conference.

While some in the basketball world believe the Warriors definitely will contend for the 2021 title, the folks over at ESPN currently have Golden State slotted into the fifth position in the Western Conference.

Here is who the voters have as the top eight in the West:

1) Los Angeles Lakers

2) LA Clippers

3) Denver Nuggets

4) Dallas Mavericks

5) Warriors

6) Houston Rockets

7) Utah Jazz

8) Portland Trail Blazers

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"These rankings are based on which teams voters (a group of more than 40 reporters, insiders and editors) think belong higher heading into next season, taking into account potential player movement and the draft," a note at the top of the article states.

Now this is very interesting because the expectation is that Golden State significantly will upgrade the roster this offseason. The Warriors have the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, a $17.2 million traded player exception, the $6 million-ish taxpayer mid-level exception and presumably one or two spots for contracts at the veteran's minimum.


"I think we need to be more athletic, for sure," coach Steve Kerr told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami last week. "We're obviously very skilled. But we don't have an overly athletic team.

"We've lost a lot of bounce and a lot of pop on the wings -- even at the center position. (So) right now, we're not big enough or athletic enough to get where we want to be. But we all know that.

"We have the draft and we have free agency to address all that stuff. And potential trades. I think (general manager) Bob (Myers) would be the first to tell you this roster is far from being finished."

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So even when taking this into account, the voters still have the Warriors in fifth place right now? That is quite surprising. The Lakers and Clippers in the top-two spots is one thing, but seeing both the Nuggets and Mavs ahead of the Warriors is a bit of a head-scratcher.

Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green already have more than enough motivation going into next season. This only will add fuel to the fire.

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