Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry, right, cheers on his teammates as they play the Toronto Raptors during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, in San Jose, Calif.  (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, right, cheers on his teammates as they play the Toronto Raptors during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

There’s only one way to shake the “lucky” label that has haunted the Golden State Warriors since they won the NBA title in June: win it again.

The Warriors matched skill, talent and perfect health against some not-so-perfect health among their opponents on the way to winning the franchise’s first title since 1975. The string of breaks and a clean bill of health was enough for NBA coaches and critics to deem the Warriors’ title run as “lucky.” That sentiment set off a fire storm this past week as Warriors players fired back at critics, including All-Star point guard Stephen Curry sarcastically apologizing for the Warriors’ run, and promising to make up for any hurt feelings this season.

The road to a repeat championship will be just as tough for Curry and the Warriors, but could they receive the same “breaks” as the first time around? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate the question. 

Riley: The Warriors are taking the questions surrounding their 2014-2015 championship as a discredit to the phenomenal season that they had. But even Golden State players can’t deny that they received some good fortune along the way. Every team that they squared off against in the postseason was dealing with significant injuries, and they happily avoided the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers, two of the more dominant teams out West. And perhaps the most talented team in the conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder, missed the playoffs completely after struggling all season with the frequent absences of star forward Kevin Durant and star guard Russell Westbrook. I won’t call Golden State’s title “luck,” but they benefitted from several important factors last season that probably won’t happen again. The Warriors are talented, but I’d be interested in seeing them square off against either of the three aforementioned clubs in the postseason. 

Green: It wouldn’t have mattered who the Warriors played last season because no team was bringing the amount of skill to the table that they possessed. Curry was dominant and a collection of stout performers including Klay Thompson and Draymond Green offered versatility and scoring punches that their opponents simply couldn’t match. Every championship run has some “luck” attached to it, whether it’s good health or the ball bouncing in a team’s favor, but the Warriors last year were talented enough to capitalize on an opportunity. The good news is they’re still as talented as they were last year, and if you’re looking for a championship favorite other than the revamped San Antonio Spurs, no team should come to mind ahead of Golden State. 

Riley: Look out for the Thunder this season, because they have all the components to shake up Golden State. I’d feel completely comfortable as a coach if I needed Westbrook to take Curry one-on-one, and I’d pay money to see Durant square off with Thompson. OKC will enter the season as the deepest team in the Western Conference, laced with both superstars and adequate depth. If the Thunder can get some luck of their own and head into next June with both Durant and Westbrook firing on all cylinders, then the Warriors’ reign at the top could be short and sweet. Even if the Warriors should make it out of the Western Conference, a potentially fully-stocked Cleveland Cavaliers team could be waiting with revenge in mind.

Green: It’s sad to hear the Warriors’ repeat chances met with ifs and maybe, but that’s the reality that Golden State faces. It’ll be a tougher road this time around, but when you add in the returning roster plus the championship experience, then the Warriors could be even tougher this time out then they were last season. It’s obvious that Golden State had an easier road last summer thanks to a strong list of stars missing from their opponent’s rosters, but all of this criticism will be even more fuel for the fire as the Warriors load up for a repeat. Golden State is stacked with talent and should make a serious run. Whether or not they win the title will depend on several variables, but they already have talent and experience working in their favor.