Stephen Curry is still playing at an MVP level, and Draymond Green made the NBA All-Defensive First Team last year, but the Warriors still missed the playoffs without Klay Thompson. Thompson has been sidelined for each of the last two seasons with a torn ACL and torn Achilles, but he’s finally returning this year. Now the supporting cast around the Warriors three veteran stars needs to step up. That starts with 2020’s No. 2 overall draft pick James Wiseman, a pair of rookies taken in the lottery this year, and burgeoning bench scorer Jordan Poole. The the Warriors aren’t quite all-in until they trade trade their young pieces for a fourth star, but this is still a team built to contend again starting now.
The Warriors pick up where they left off last year, with Steph Curry playing at an MVP level and Draymond Green at a DPOY level, with Jordan Poole taking another leap and Andrew Wiggins finding his footing even more. Klay Thompson returns from his Achilles injury as successfully as Kevin Durant and Breanna Stewart did, and the bench pieces stay healthy as Andre Iguodala turns back the clock. They cruise through an injury-riddled West, and play basketball in June for the sixth time in eight years.
Klay Thompson looks like a shell of himself after two lower-body injuries, and with the team clearly not championship contenders, Draymond Green checks out. Injury-prone role players like Otto Porter Jr., Andre Iguodala, and Kevon Looney get hurt, forcing the Warriors to rely on their young, raw players who struggle mightily. Steph Curry burns out trying to carry the entire team on his back, Andrew Wiggins regresses into his Minnesota habits, and the Warriors find themselves once again fighting just to make the play-in tournament.
Steph Curry again states his case for MVP, as the offseason additions fit in well, making Golden State look like a much more complete team than they were last season. Klay Thompson is good, but not great in his return, while Andrew Wiggins is solid, but doesn’t take a step forward. The Warriors are a clear playoff team, a healthy step ahead of those fighting for the play-in tournament, but clearly a tier behind the conference’s elite. No one wants to face them in the playoffs, but they don’t fully look like contenders, either.
The Splash Brothers. Last season Steph Curry answered every question about if he was still elite, emphatically affirming his place as one of the best players in the NBA. Sometime in December or January the Warriors will welcome back Klay Thompson, who hasn’t played since June, 2019. Since then, Curry, when healthy, has been paired in the backcourt with D’Angelo Russell, Kelly Oubre Jr., and Kent Bazemore; not the most exciting of theater. Seeing two franchise icons, who have formed the best shooting backcourt in NBA history, back on the court together will warm every Warriors fan’s heart.
Otto Porter Jr.
Kelly Oubre Jr.