As they are currently constructed, the Golden State Warriors will be a dark horse candidate to make a cinderella run to the title next season.
Times have been dark for the Golden State Warriors lately. Fans sludged through a season full of turmoil as injuries left the franchise no choice but to put out a lineup filled with G-league call ups and formerly outcasted NBA players. This season pushed the Warriors to the brink but the dynasty is prepared to rise once again.
Still, there are too many questions regarding their future to count. Each player on the roster has massive concerns moving forward. Perhaps the only one they can trust to play at a superstar level is Stephen Curry. The two-time MVP will be fully recovered by December. Playing as the sole leader again, we can expect Curry light up the scoreboard every night.
What about his running mate, Klay Thompson? Recovering from an ACL tear isn’t easy. Thompson is lucky that not only has the next NBA season been delayed but his greatest strength, 3-point shooting, should not be affected by his injury.
As for the other end of the floor, it’s possible we see a slower version of Thompson. It’s too early to tell if he has lost any of his lateral quickness. If he has, things will get interesting in the backcourt as Thompson was key to hiding Curry on the defensive end.
Let’s say Thompson returns to the floor in December and is his usual self. The Splash Bros should pick up right where they left off as the greatest 3-point shooting backcourt in league history. Will their return help spark a revival in Draymond Green?
Much like the Dubs title hopes, Green was dormant for all of the 2019-20 NBA season. He used just about any excuse he could to sit out. When he was in the game, he wasn’t exactly engaged. Green averaged just 8.0 points on 38.9 percent shooting from the floor.
On one hand, Green will surely be more motivated to ramp it up next season with his star teammates back in action. However, there is still concern that his jump shot has been regressing each season. He hasn’t shot higher than 31 percent from deep in over four seasons. As he approaches his 30s, his athleticism will decline. If he fails to stretch the floor, his effectiveness will deteriorate quickly.
But, in the present, the Warriors can feel comfortable knowing they have a former Defensive Player of the Year on their roster that should be gearing up for a comeback season. After all, I’m sure Green hasn’t enjoyed being on the other end of beatdowns for a change.
As for the rest of the roster, Andrew Wiggins stands out as the most obvious x-factor. How will Wiggins do in a new environment? He hasn’t played meaningful basketball on a championship-caliber team since college. Can the Warriors rely heavily on a player who has consistently underwhelmed in the pros?
Wiggins seems ready to jump on a second opportunity to become an NBA great. His role with the Warriors will be much different from what he’s used to and that could be a good thing. The Dubs will look to push Wiggins to play to his strengths as a slasher. Less time worrying about carrying the offense and more time working within the system can do Wiggins wonders.
Then, there’s the young core. Eric Paschall led the way last season as the breakout star of the Dubs 25-and-under club. The (likely) All-Rookie member will need to build off his successful first season to earn a permanent role with the team.
Marquese Chriss will be jockeying for minutes in the frontcourt as well. His strong finish to the year helped him earn consideration for the starting lineup. His athleticism gives him the potential to be a great rim-runner for Golden State. Of course, he will have to battle Kevon Looney for minutes at the five.
Jordan Poole, Ky Bowman, Dragan Bender and Damion Lee make up the rest of the Dubs young core. While each has shown flashes of promise, they played heavy roles in the Warriors 15-50 record.
Thankfully, the Warriors’ time in the lottery will be short. They have plenty of options with their upcoming NBA Draft pick but for the sake of the article let’s assume the Dubs make the most logical decision by utilizing their $17 million dollar trade exception in tandem with their first round pick to add a notable player to the lineup. With this in action, how far could the Warriors go?
The core of Curry, Thompson, Wiggins and Green is talented enough to reach the playoffs alone. Add consistent minutes from whoever they trade for, along with Paschall and Chriss making another jump, and this team is ready to compete with anybody.