Coming into the daunting Christmas matchup versus Houston, Golden State held a record of 7-24, the ranking dead last in their conference. After making the Finals the past five seasons, this team could potentially be the worst in the franchise’s history. Regardless of the significant factors – it is still worrisome at first glance to any fan.
The two-time MVP Steph Curry, broke his hand just one week into the NBA season, and will most likely be sidelined for the rest of the season, due to the team’s performance. Klay Thompson tore his ACL in last year’s NBA Finals, and will also most likely miss the entirety of the 2019-20 NBA season. Not only that, but Kevin Durant chose to pursue his career in Brooklyn this summer with fellow superstar, Kyrie Irving, leaving the Warriors with just new acquisition D’angelo Russell, Draymond Green, and a plethora of young players.
Just when you thought that was too much, it gets worse. Not only did the Warriors get worse over the offseason, but other Western teams vastly improved. First, the Lakers automatically became championship contenders by trading their young core for Anthony Davis. A couple weeks later, Kawhi and Paul George teamed up across the hallway in the Staples Center. Finally, the Rockets traded for a former MVP in Russell Westbrook to pair with scoring legend, James Harden.
Though, the new-look Warriors have turned in a big way lately, with three straight wins; headlined by their massive 116-104 upset at home against the Rockets.
While many will focus on the headline of a nice win over Houston that may be a fluke – there is a much bigger headline that needs to be mentioned. It’s a reminder that the Golden State Warriors are far from done. If anything, they’re just getting started on another run at greatness – as soon as next year.
Assuming Steph and Klay can stay healthy once they return from their devastating injuries, their starting lineup will look similar to that of the iconic 2015-16 season. The only difference of course is the addition of D’Angelo Russell, and most likely Willie Cauley-Stein to fill in the center position.
In addition to the lethal core they’ll possess, the Warriors currently have the top odds at acquiring the #1 pick in June; which is a frightening sight for the rest of the Association. If Golden State was serious about contending next season, there’s a solid chance that #1 pick could be traded to a rebuilding team in exchange for a top-tier big man to fill in the role that has seemingly been the “weakest” spot of each elite Warriors team.
Just think of the Pistons, for example. Detroit has been the epitome of mediocrity in the NBA for the past decade and are not contenders, but more a “middle of the pack” team. They’d be thrilled to get an unbelievable young prospect from this class to build around. What if GS moved their top pick for Andre Drummond, other future picks and a couple role pieces such as Markieff Morris and Svi Mykhailiuk (for shooting purposes)? It would be a win-win, and a chance to booster their hopes at a fourth ring.
As for Detroit, they’d be left with Blake, Kennard, D-Rose, Reggie Jackson, and a top overall pick in June (LaMelo Ball, RJ Hampton, James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards, etc.)
In order for Golden State to truly be successful in the 2020-21 season, it’s going to take more than a star-studded starting lineup.
This weird rebuilding season has totally allowed the new young core – that includes Eric Paschall, Jordan Poole, Omari Spellman, Marquise Chriss, WCS, and even the newly-acquired D’Angelo Russell – to make huge strides in their development. This bunch will be expected to perform their secondary roles for the sake of winning basketball; creating a super strong bench unit.
We’ve clearly seen flashes of how this core could succeed on their own in the league, especially in the aforementioned Christmas victory against the Rockets, where they put together a complete performance in the big win.
With the right moves this offseason and a complete recovery for their stars, it is entirely possible that this “reign” of Golden State basketball we’ve all witnessed for the past five years isn’t nearly over… it’s just getting started again.
(P/C: CBS Sports – https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/warriors-vs-rockets-score-takeaways-draymond-green-golden-state-stun-james-harden-and-co-on-christmas-day/live/)