Steph Curry

Why Stephen A believes Steph will win another title before LeBron, KD

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As the Warriors begin their NBA playoff push coming off the All-Star break, a familiar face believes Golden State is closer to winning an NBA championship over the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns.

During a recent episode of ESPN’s "First Take," Stephen A. Smith proclaimed that he would pick Steph Curry and the Warriors to win one more NBA title over the Lakers and the Suns, who feature fellow future Hall of Famers LeBron James and Kevin Durant, respectively.

Smith, known for his outspoken and lengthy monologues, explained to co-host Shannon Sharpe why he believes the Warriors are better equipped to make another title run as opposed to the Lakers.

“I’m going to roll with the Warriors on this question, I said it, I didn’t stutter, and I’m going to tell you why,” Smith said. “Because I don’t think the Lakers can shoot well enough, and ultimately that’s what it’s going to come down to.

"When you look at Denver and its size, when you look at Minnesota and its size, I’m looking at those guys, I’m looking at Oklahoma City’s ability to shoot the basketball, I’m looking at the Clippers and how lethal they are offensively. And I see plenty of teams that can get in the Lakers way because of the Lakers inability to shoot the basketball.”

Smith then went on to describe the struggles that Durant has had since leaving the Warriors in 2019, noting that the superstar has not made it out of the conference semifinals since going out on his own.

“I think Phoenix is compromised somewhat defensively," Smith said. "I can’t trust them defensively, and I think that’s ultimately what it comes down to. KD, [Devin] Booker and Bradley Beal, "Lethal Weapon 3" no doubt about it, but they’ve got something to prove, I’ve got to see it.

“I’ve got news for you: We all know how I feel about KD, one of the greatest scorers in the history of this game, a two-time champion, a two-time NBA Finals MVP, he hasn’t been out of the semifinals since he left Golden State, that’s just a fact.”

Finally, Smith explained that the Warriors remain a dangerous team given the shooting prowess of Curry and their supporting cast. For this reason, along with the development of younger players like Jonathan Kuminga and Brandin Podziemski, Smith believes that Golden State can match up against the NBA's best teams in the playoffs and make another title run.

“Now we get to the Golden State Warriors. Steph Curry is still the greatest shooter God ever created, we saw this Saturday night in that 3-point shooting contest, it’s just what he does. We’ve got that going on.

“Jonathan Kuminga has elevated his level of play, his 3-point shooting, his field-goal percentage shooting, he gets it now. And his athleticism is off the charts. Draymond Green has upped the ante. Defensively they have really stepped up. Klay Thompson comes off the bench for the first time in years, drops 35.

“He’s the key to me Shannon. Here’s why: If you don’t have enough size, what offsets that? Marksmanship. Because you force the other team to go small because they can’t come out on the perimeter and defend you. If the Golden State Warriors with Podziemski, with Kuminga, if Klay Thompson elevates to what we know Klay Thompson can elevate to in terms of just shooting the basketball, he’s a 37 percent shooter from three this year, we know he’s better than that career-wise ok?

“But shooters shoot, and if Klay Thompson finds his shot again with Steph Curry playing the way he’s playing, and those brothers shooting the basketball the way they shoot, it changes everything, and I would say that’s better."

While the Warriors have had an up-and-down year, they appear to be hitting their stride at the mid-point of the NBA season, having won six of their last seven games to climb to 10th place in the Western Conference standings.

While the Warriors are in the mix for a play-in spot, they are looking beyond that as they try to move up into the top six in the standings to secure a guaranteed playoff spot.

Next up for Golden State is a critical matchup with LeBron the red-hot Lakers on Thursday night at Chase Center.

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