Everyone is waiting to see how the Golden State Warriors’ big three responds to possibly their greatest challenge yet.
How the mighty will fall. Following five consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors looked like a completely different team this season as they posted the worst record in the league (15-50) before the season was suspended.
This is mainly because of the fact that well, the Warriors were a different team. Kevin Durant ditched the franchise in free agency while 2015 Finals MVP was traded to Memphis during the offseason. Klay Thompson missed the entire year with an ACL injury while Stephen Curry‘s fractured left hand held him out for 60 games.
Draymond Green was the only member of the big three to appear in a large chunk of the season but even he missed over 20 games. This has everyone wondering, how will the big three perform together next season after so much time apart?
The road back to the finals begins with Curry. The two-time MVP will need to take his game to another level in order to keep the franchise competing for a title.
With Durant gone, Curry is going to be asked to carry a heavy load on offense. It’s likely we will see Curry’s usage rate spike as the Dubs relentlessly put the ball in his hands to make decisions.
As a result, we might see Curry’s best statistical season since 2016. At 32 years of age, Curry still has plenty of gas left in the tank. If he is able to help the Dubs exceed expectations next year we could very well see Curry back in MVP conversations.
Thompson is the team’s biggest question mark heading into next season. It’s nearly impossible to predict how an ACL injury can impact an athlete. Thompson’s recovery process thus far has been smooth but there is no telling how it will potentially limit his abilities.
Luckily for Klay, shooting is his greatest strength. As long as he is able to stay on the floor, he will be a threat from the 3-point line. Only Curry, James Harden and Damian Lillard have hit more 3-pointers than Thompson in the last five seasons. This is incredible considering Thompson didn’t play a single game this year.
The more concerning aspect of Klay’s game will be his perimeter defense. He has been key to covering up holes in the Dubs defense. With Durant and Iguodala gone, Thompson’s presence will be more important than ever. Hopefully, his knee injury doesn’t affect his lateral movement too much.
Lastly is Green. In each of the last three seasons, we have seen a notable decline in production from Green. He has regressed greatly as a shooter and is becoming less effective on defense.
Still, the fact remains that Green is a jack of all trades. He can rebound, pass and defend. The Warriors are going to relish in Green’s playmaking ability once they have a healthy roster of shooters to surround him.
Green has a lot to prove next season. He has had a lot to say about other NBA legends during the offseason, now it’s time for him to back it up. The Dubs won’t go far without Green playing at his best.
It’s almost a guarantee that getting Curry and Thompson back will help Green. However, he still needs to hold his own at the end of the day.