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The Warriors Are Starting A New Chapter
Twenty-nine different opposing NBA teams will walk through the doors of Target Center to play the Wolves this season, and we want you to know as much as you can about all of them. What’s the order of the teams we’re previewing? It’s actually completely random! Now, a team that is trying not to end its dynasty quite yet.
Notable Players Acquired: Alec Burks (free agency), Willie Cauley-Stein (free agency), Jordan Poole (draft), Glenn Robinson III (free agency), D’Angelo Russell (trade), Omari Spellman (trade)
Notable Players Lost: Jordan Bell (free agency), Quinn Cook (free agency), DeMarcus Cousins (free agency), Kevin Durant (trade), Andre Iguodala (trade), Shaun Livingston (free agency)
What Went Down In 2018-19?
For the fifth-straight season, the Warriors made it to the NBA Finals.
Thanks to a combination of Kawhi Leonard being Superman and a slew Warriors’ injuries, Golden State fell in six games to the Raptors in the Finals.
Watching Kevin Durant (Achilles) and Klay Thompson (ACL) go out in the Finals was one of the most devastating two injuries we’ve seen in NBA history on the absolute biggest stage. It’s the exact opposite of what you want to see as a fan.
It’s hard not to think if one, or both, of those injuries don’t happen, what does the landscape of the NBA look like?
I know it’s annoying to say if the Warriors were healthy because injuries are part of the game, and that’s not fair to the Raptors because Leonard was no doubt laboring some sort of injury himself, but man. . . It’s hard not to wonder what if the Warriors were healthy?
But here we are.
The regular season was another strong one from Steve Kerr’s squad. The Warriors won 57 games and have amassed a 319-88 record since Kerr took over in 2014.
Steph Curry was still Steph Curry, averaging 27 points per game while shooting 43.7 percent from the 3-point line. Klay Thompson averaged 21.5 and shot 40.2 percent from deep. Durant was perhaps the best he’s ever been with the Warriors, averaging 26 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game. And while it took a while, Draymond Green got back into shape and returned to form as one of the best defensive players in the league.
But this will all change . . .
The Offseason Was. . .
About as busy you can get besides joining another league.
There will still be Curry, Green and Thompson (though Thompson will likely miss the season), but after that, this is an unfamiliar Warriors team.
Durant fled to go to the Brooklyn Nets, but not all was lost with the Warriors managing to acquire Russell in a sign-and-trade. How will Russell fit into Golden State’s plans? We’ll see, but it’s better to get an asset in return for Durant than to not.
Iguodala was traded to the Grizzlies to dump off salary and the Warriors didn’t bring back Cousins, Bell, Cook or Livingston.
The Warriors will lean on Curry, Green and Russell to do the heavy lifting, but they’ll need the rest of the team to live up to the franchise motto: Strength In Numbers.
Will Cauley-Stein emerge as the player we thought he could be when he entered the league? Will Poole finally be the late first-round draft pick the Warriors hit on? Green can’t afford to wait until March to get into game shape.
Oh yeah. And the Warriors will be playing at a new arena after playing at Oracle Arena since 1997.
Seems about the perfect time for a change.
The Big Question:
Can the Warriors stay relevant in a wild Western Conference?
The Clippers added Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The Rockets added Russell Westbrook. The Lakers added Anthony Davis. The Jazz added Mike Conley. And then there’s still the Blazers and Nuggets.
With all the success and talent the Warriors have had, let’s not forget who got this party started. Curry is still the best shooter in the world and is a top-5 player in the league when healthy.
Green can be one of the best defensive players, and Russell is an All-Star caliber player. But will that be enough to even earn homecourt advantage in the West? The answer is probably no, which sounds crazy because right there, you have three All-Stars! I know. The Western Conference is going to be a bloodbath in 2019-20. No games are easy.
This Writer’s Prediction
This is going to be a playoff team, but one that is fighting for 50 wins and a playoff spot, rather than 60 wins and homecourt advantage.
Describe This Team In 15 Words Or Less
After three titles in five seasons, 2019-20 will be a breather for the Warriors.