1 advantage the Warriors have over each Pacific Division team

The Pacific Division may be the toughest group in the NBA, with five legit contenders. But the Warriors have at least one meaningful advantage over each opponent.

May 10, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots
May 10, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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1 advantage the Warriors have over the Kings: Shutdown defense

The Warriors roughed up the Kings during the regular season last year, taking three of their four matchups by a combined 30 points. They also knocked the Kings out of the playoffs, although Sacramento took them to seven games and the series was much closer than their regular season matchups would have indicated.

The difference for the Warriors was their defense, which held the Kings and their league-best offense nearly 10 points per 100 possessions below their season average. They disrupted the elbow-hub, dribble-handoff continuity of Domantas Sabonis and De'Aaron Fox and did enough to keep them off their rhythm.

Giving Sabonis space took away passing lanes, both to him and from him, clogging the lane to shut down their wheeling chaos toward the basket. There were drive-and-kick opportunities available but the Warriors did an excellent job recovering and closing out, shutting down space on the perimeter as well. The Kings were hampered by some unusually bad shooting performances but they just weren't the same offense against Golden State.

The Kings have some stretchy and versatile new weapons this year — wing Chris Duarte and forward Sasha Vezenkov but the Warriors also have Chris Paul, a mountain of high-leverage experience and a proven template for disrupting the Kings offense.