Los Angeles, October 16: Draymond Green is expecting the NBA's Western Conference to be hotly contested this season but he does not envy opposition players and coaches who must face the Golden State Warriors.
The 28-year-old, who was drafted by Golden State in 2012, has been a key member of the Warriors' dominant side in recent years, with the team winning three of the last four championships.
The new season gets under way on Tuesday (October 16), with Green and his team-mates facing the Oklahoma City Thunder, but the forward is expecting a tough year in a star-studded Western Conference, including LeBron James joining the Los Angeles Lakers.
"I think the entire Western Conference is going to be tough," Green said.
"Obviously the Rockets will be really good again - they took us to Game 7 last year. With the Lakers adding LeBron, they're going to be tough. I think Utah will continue to get better. Portland are always tough with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
"Phoenix got better, adding Trevor Ariza and it's yet to be seen but pretty high hopes for DeAndre Ayton, and re-signing Devin Booker is important for them.
IT’S OFFICIALLY GAME DAY pic.twitter.com/fr5xum9RjQ— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) October 16, 2018
"San Antonio added DeMar DeRozan and still have everything in place, except for Kawhi Leonard - you know, coach Pop , LaMarcus Aldridge, they're going to be tough. OKC are going to be tough.
"I think there are going to be a lot of tough teams. Night in, night out, you have to bring it in the Western Conference or you could possibly struggle quite a bit. There won't be any surprises."
But the Warriors have improved, too, bringing in DeMarcus Cousins, and Green is not entirely sure how an opponent in the West would go about stopping Golden State.
"I think teams have tried everything, defensively, and we've had a pretty nice amount of success," Green added. "Hopefully we can maintain that.
"In terms of a defensive plan, I'm just thankful that it's not on me to come up with that. We'll leave that to those opposing coaches and those opposing players, see if they can figure it out.
"In the meantime, we will continue to try to get better and try to make it tougher for them to figure out."