It’s undeniable, the Golden State Warriors are contenders again. They may even be the favorites. This season has surprised most, as the Warriors were expected to be in the middle of the pack in the west but have forced themselves to the top.
Time, however, waits for no one.
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr seems to have taken inspiration from his former team: the San Antonio Spurs.
The “big-4” in San Fransisco is beginning to age. Steph Curry turns 34 in just over a month, Draymond Green is soon to be 32, same as Klay Thompson who has a severe injury history. The youngest member of their star-studded four-headed monster is Andrew Wiggins; soon to be 27.
This core cannot and will not last forever. Time is already catching up to the aging core, with rest games and minor injuries, as well as major injuries, beginning to add up for the Golden Trio. The big question becomes, how much longer can this core continue to lead a team to the playoffs for an entire season?
As the Warriors front office work with Steve Kerr and the roster to answer the big question, along with many more, they seem to have gathered some inspiration from the Spurs.
Numerous times throughout their NBA history San Antonio has found themselves in mediocrity with aging superstars, in the mid-’80s with George Gervin, the late 90’s with David Robinson, and again in the early 2010s with Tim Duncan.
Every time they found themselves in this situation, the Spurs have employed the same “quiet rebuild” strategy at staying relevant or becoming contenders. The draft “project players” with a high ceiling in the middle of the draft. Occasionally even getting a higher pick and drafting a star.
Examples of these project players that they draft are Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and above all, Kawhi Leonard. They were drafted with a low floor and a high ceiling, and the Spurs heavily invested in their development, paying off in the long run with multiple championships to show for it.
The Golden State Warriors seem to be following the same formula. in the last two drafts, they have chosen 3 of these “project players” in just the first round, James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, and Moses Moody.
It seems as if the plan for Golden State is to let Curry, Thompson, and Green ease out of the star roles as the young core develops into their own championship-caliber team.
While the team may win the championship this season, their goal is to continue their dominance as the greatest point guard of all time enters the twilight of his career and eventually retirement.
Ultimately, it’s up for time to tell if the Warriors are successful in their quiet rebuild goals, but they are on the right track following the Spurs’ blueprint for success.