Even after a roller coaster free agency period, the Golden State Warriors are in position to win the Western Conference.
The last few months have been hectic for the Golden State Warriors. Their fifth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals was quickly derailed as injuries plagued the entire roster. Once the team finally rolled over and were defeated in Game 6, the permanent loss of Kevin Durant via free agency soon followed.
Durant wasn’t the only player the Dubs lost this summer. Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Quinn Cook, Jordan Bell and DeMarcus Cousins all fall into this boat as well. Count the ACL injury to Klay Thompson and we have a very different Warriors team heading into the 2019-20 NBA season.
The most notable addition is D’Angelo Russell. The 23-year-old had a breakout season, averaging career-highs in points and assists as he earned his first All-Star selection. Acting as a replacement for Durant, Russell will have a far different impact on the team than the two-time Finals MVP.
While Durant was mainly a pure scorer with occasional playmaking and great defense, Russell will be a combo. Expect D-Lo to facilitate for his teammates just as often as he shoots the ball.
D-Lo is going to be heavily relied upon this year. While Thompson nurtures his knee, Stephen Curry will need someone to help fill in the missing offense. This is where Russell can thrive as an isolation scorer and playmaker out of the pick-and-roll.
Alongside Curry and Russell will be Draymond Green. The former Defensive Player of the Year proved he still had some gas left in the tank by racking up seven triple-doubles in the 2019 NBA Playoffs, the most of any single postseason in his career.
We haven’t even mentioned the much improved Kevon Looney who will step in as the starting center. Looney showed massive heart in last year’s playoffs and has the potential to be a versatile rim runner.
By the time Thompson returns, the Dubs will have already hit their stride. Klay is set to hit the floor again sometime after the All-Star break, giving him plenty of time to brush the dust off his shoulders and prepare for the playoffs.
Once they hit the playoffs, the Dubs have every reason to be the favorites. Outside of the LA Clippers, no other team can match their star power. On top of this, no team can match their championship pedigree.
The Warriors have won three of the last five championships for a reason. Don’t expect them to give up the crown just yet.