Charles Barkley, a basketball analyst and NBA Hall of Famer, isn’t sold that the Kevin Durant-less Warriors will bounce back as true title contenders.
The Golden State Warriors were 15-50 in their 65 games this season. With their year likely over due to COVID-19 and them not being a top-22 team able to participate in the Orlando restart, the Warriors will be looking ahead to an offseason that could bring them back to the top.
After all, the main reason this team wasn’t one of the better teams in the West this season was because of injury. Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, the Warriors two offensive stars, combined for just five total games.
The original plan for the season was for Curry to keep the team afloat till a late-season comeback from Thompson who tore his ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. When Curry suffered a significant hand injury in the fourth game of the season, that plan crumbled.
There are a few silver linings to the season, but we didn’t have one question that every NBA fan is begging to know answered. That is, will the Golden State Warriors be able to return to championship contention without Kevin Durant?
After losing him in the 2019 offseason, this team’s chemistry was going to look far different. That said, NBA legend and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley isn’t buying that Golden State can return to contention with the “jewelry” out.
“As far as the Warriors, man they are going to be competitive because of Klay and Steph. Draymond is a good little player. But the rest of the stuff is out. The rest of the jewelry is out on the rest of that team,” Barkley said in a conference call with American Century Championship via NBC Sports’ John Schrock.
“They are going to have a good team. Any time you got Klay and Steph you’re going to have a good team. I mean they are the two greatest shooters who ever lived. They are not going to be the same team they used to be because other teams have gotten a lot better. I mean, listen, the Lakers and the Clippers are not going anywhere, the Nuggets got a good solid team. The Lakers and the Clippers are the two teams to beat, not just this year but going forward,” Barkley continued.
Barkley isn’t wrong in some aspects. Players like Kevin Durant and even Andre Iguodala made this team what it was. They were part of the few cornerstones that helped the Warriors when they needed them most, in the matchups they needed them in.
Without those two, they may very well struggle unless Draymond Green can return to peak form.
However, Durant and Iguodala’s production could be replaced, at least partially. With a $17.2 million trade exception, a mid-level exception and potentially the top pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, expect this team to improve this season.
The question is — how much?