Should Warriors be written off this season?
The NBA is like the script of an epic film. There are so many twists and turns on and off the court. There was a climatic rise of the underdog to clinch the NBA championship last season as the Raptors were crowned the 2018-19 NBA champs. The NBA Draft provided the league with some really exciting talent with Zion Williamson the stand out player drafted. Then came the explosions of the free agency movements that have left massive shockwaves around the league.
The make up of the entire NBA has changed with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both choosing to head to the Brooklyn Nets with DeAndre Jordan following in tow, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have joined forces in Los Angeles with the Clippers, that then saw Russell Westbrook depart Oklahoma City and the Thunder for Houston and the Rockets to team up with James Harden. The Lakers brought Anthony Davis on board as well as a host of new free agent signings to complement LeBron James. That’s just a small cross section of the most intriguing moves so far. In the midst of all of these moves the Golden State Warriors brought in D’Angelo Russell to play with them at the new Chase Center in San Francisco.
The Warriors are an interesting prospect for next season, especially after losing Durant. They lost their second NBA Finals in the last five years and the lynchpin of their most recent success has departed in Durant. KD is not the only Warrior to have left the building though with veteran stars Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston both having moved on. Quinn Cook has also left Dub Nation and DeMarcus Cousins wasn’t retained after his one season in the Bay Area. Although the injured Klay Thompson has signed a new contract that sees him stay with the team for the foreseeable future you can’t shake the feeling that things are different with Golden State.
Stephen Curry and Draymond Green are still there, so its not all doom and gloom. Bringing in Russell feels like a strange fit for the Dubs though. He is a superb talent who can play the pick and roll to perfection; he can shoot and works hard for his team, though his defense needs an upgrade. But is he what the Warriors need? Maybe not. He isn’t a replacement for Durant and frankly no one would be. But Russell must take his chances at the Warriors as he can grow even further and add to last term’s maiden All-Star Game selection. The signing of center Willie Cauley-Stein is another interesting move on the part of GM Bob Myers. The mobile big man gives the team some much needed impact play at that position and it will be fun to see him executing the pick and roll with the likes of Steph Curry and D-Lo. Kevon Looney has also committed to the Warriors so their center stocks have been kept quite high. However there is a lack of the star wattage that the Warriors have become known for in recent years.
All of these moves don’t make them bad, far from it, it makes them a wholly different beast altogether. Green is still part of the squad and he is always a valued member of the setup, whose contributions have been massive for the three-time champions. When Curry, Thompson and Green are all fit then the question marks about the Warriors’ ability go out of the window. Even with Curry and Green as the stalwarts of this side there is a lot to like about Golden State. The additions of Russell and Cauley-Stein as well as Alec Burks, Omari Spellman, Julian Washburn and Glen Robinson III make this a mixed bag of players with the talent to make some impact, but the jury is out on how it all fits together. With Thompson also missing a large chunk of the season due to knee surgery you now have more doubts and than certainty. That is something the Warriors haven’t had for a very long time. Coach Steve Kerr has his hands full as he tries to figure out how to make his team champions again. Especially in this much-changed NBA landscape.