The Golden State Warriors haven’t looked like the defending champions for most of the season. However, they certainly did in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The Warriors defeated the third-seeded Sacramento Kings thanks in large part to Steph Curry dropping 50 points in their Game 7 win.
Now, the Warriors will have home-court advantage against the Los Angeles Lakers in the West semifinals despite being a sixth seed. That is a huge deal for the Warriors, who have been a much better team at home than on the road this season.
Tied 1-1, Golden State can use any advantage they can get against the Lakers, who have been on a roll since the trade deadline and may present the Warriors with some problems. With that being said, let’s take a look at the Warriors’ projected starting lineup for Game 3.
Projected Warriors starting lineup vs Lakers Game 3:
- Stephen Curry
- Klay Thompson
- Andrew Wiggins
- Draymond Green
- Kevon Looney
After injuries and personal absences kept the Golden State’s preferred starting lineup apart, they are showing what they are capable of. Of course, they won a championship last season, but shooting guard Klay Thompson has been much better this season than last.
As has center Kevon Looney, who came off the bench for Game 2 but should start in Game 3. He has been absolutely dominant on the offensive glass this season, giving the Warriors second chance after second chance. Not to be outdone, Curry, even at 34, is still as dominant as ever. Meanwhile, Draymond Green has managed to redeem himself after being suspended for Game 3 of the first round against the Kings.
Projected Lakers starting lineup at Warriors Game 3:
- D’Angelo Russell
- Austin Reaves
- LeBron James
- Jarred Vanderbilt
- Anthony Davis
Unlike Golden State, the Lakers starting lineup is much newer. Russell and Vanderbilt were bought in before the trade deadline, joining Reaves, James, and Davis in the team’s starting five. Thus far, it’s proven to be effective.
Both Russell and Reaves had multiple big games against the Grizzlies, helping the Lakers make history. Additionally, Vanderbilt is a highly versatile defender, while both James and Davis are still playing like the team’s best players. Altogether, this particular starting lineup gives the Lakers enough ball handling, shooting, playmaking, and defense to compete with any team, including the Warriors.
All in all, this West Semifinals series has the potential to be great given the star power of each team. Considering how well both teams played against higher seeds, and how talented their starting lineups are, this could very well be a drama-filled seven-game series.