If you’re at all across Golden State Warriors’ Twitter, you’ll appreciate that the franchise doesn’t fare very well in hypothetical situations. Take the second-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies for example, with Ja Morant recently stating they were the favorites before he went down with a knee injury.
Let’s forget the reality that the Warriors had stolen home-court advantage and were 2-1 up before Morant went down. While there may have been a lot of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ emanating from opposition fans, the reality is that
It seems the Golden State Warriors, despite winning four championships in eight seasons, will have to continue defying league-wide expectations in future years.
The Athletic NBA Show undertook an intriguing hypothetical discussion over the weekend, with three-panel members, Andrew Schlecht, Keith Parish and Katie Heindl, completing a snake draft on their power rankings for the 2025-26 season.
The preface of this exercise was to simply project who would be the best teams in the league at that point, not who would have the brightest future or the best young assets. It’s fair to say that the results may have some scratching their head.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were picked first, an understandable decision given their recent trade for a young All-Star in Donovan Mitchell, who now joins Evan Mobley, Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen in an enviable young core.
Golden State’s opponent in the Finals, the Boston Celtics, was chosen second thanks to their young duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Another Warriors rival, the Grizzlies, was third, while the nine-team draft was concluded with the Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns.
Golden State failed to garner a mention, even when teams like the New Orleans Pelicans and the lowly San Antonio Spurs or Oklahoma City Thunder were discussed. The Warriors have an ambitious bridge plan to sustain their success, yet they’ll be lucky to make the playoffs in three years according to this podcast.
Stephen Curry will be 37, yes, he will have slowed. But his sheer dominance against the best defensive team in the league, on the grandest stage of all, gives optimism that he’ll still be a top 10 player league-wide in three years. Granted, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson will have slowed, but you know the second half of the splash brothers could sit in a corner and drain threes till the day he dies.
Not mentioning the Warriors is not only a clear rejection on their experienced older core who know how to win, but it’s a dismissal of their young talent. Three recent lottery picks, a guard in Jordan Poole who finished third in the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award at 22 years of age. Andrew Wiggins was the Warriors’ second-best player in the Finals…He’ll be 30, that’s prime years.
And…if you have no regard for the Warriors roster, none whatsoever, then maybe just think about the franchise itself. An organization that’s made winning a habit over the last decade, one that generally makes the right decisions in its front office and most importantly, is willing to spend exorbitant amounts of money.
This is a futile discussion no doubt, this league can change drastically in a matter of days let alone years. But the conversation lays everyone equally on the table, assuming that teams will retain their most important players.
It beggars belief that Golden State wasn’t included, and the continual lack of respect is exactly why they call out their doubters when they win, much to the angst of those same non-believers.