Last week I heaped praise on the Raptors, which was much deserved and expected. Then yesterday I talked about my feelings involving the Anthony Davis trade. Today I want to take a little bit of a deep dive into what I think the Warriors will look like next year and beyond.
What the Warriors definitely have is Steph Curry, and he is a very, very good basketball player. They also have Steve Kerr who has proven to be a very good coach. Sure, he has been gifted with some of the best NBA players ever, but you still have to coach those guys, and he has won three titles with them. They also have Draymond back for one more season, at least, and when engaged, he is a great defender, the key to running their offense, and plays super hard. By all accounts, Klay Thompson, especially if you listen to his dad, is coming back, although he is going to miss a solid portion of next season after tearing his ACL.
After that, it gets kind of murky. Kevon Looney made himself look like a solid free agent this offseason after his playoff performance. He may opt to leave for more money and playing time. Both Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala are near, if not already there, the end of their careers. Livingston more so than Iguodala. Jordan Bell is still there, and on a rookie contract, but he really regressed this season. Andrew Bogut will most likely retire again and head back to Australia. Alfonzo McKinnie showed flashes, but he needs some work before he is a solid starter. Quinn Cook is an okay shooter, and he has been in the Warriors system since getting in the NBA, but he is not the type of player that will be a starter on a title contending team.
And then we have the whole KD situation.
Who knows what is going to happen with that. First off, he will not play at all in 2020, and not until later in 2021. He ruptured his Achilles. That is going to take awhile before he is even ready to get back on the court to even shoot a ball. Then, all the rehab after that and then he has to get back into playing shape. He has a long recovery ahead of him. Also, he may not, I don't think he will, resign with the Warriors. I still believe he is going to the Knicks. (Sorry if that gets your hopes up RD) I think they do not care that he will miss a year because they can get another high pick next year which they can flip, or take a top prospect to pair with KD. I also think the Warriors have mentally moved on from KD. All year they have heard he was leaving, he hasn't said otherwise, and I think his time is done in Oakland. I believe he will sign with the Knicks, and this will open up some cap space for Golden State to help build around Steph, Draymond and Klay, when he comes back.
This is where it gets interesting for me. I don't think any top free agents will come there for awhile now. I feel like the top guys want to pull a Kawhi and beat them. So I think guys like Jimmy Butler, the aforementioned Kwahi, Chris Paul, basically any top guy on the market is off limits to them. But, I think they can get "lower" tier guys. I wouldn't be shocked if Kemba Walker at least thinks about signing there. I think Tobias Harris would be an ideal fit next to Steph and Draymond next season. I think they could lure shooters like JJ Redick to come play for them. I'd love to see them try and sign a point guard like Patrick Beverly, to help take the load off Steph on defense. I think they can go out and get guys like that, and still be competitive.
The Warriors will not be the top team in the West next season. That much is certain. The Lakers, as much as it pains me, will be good. Denver will be better. Portland is always good. OKC has something to prove. Utah, while having trash fans, will be much better. The West is still loaded, and the Warriors will finally be on the other side, struggling for playoff position. But, for the people saying that they won't be in the playoffs, and that they're done, I disagree. This franchise is too well run, even though they completely screwed over KD, to fall off a cliff. Also, as I have mentioned many times, they still have Steph, Draymond and Kerr. There is still a very solid foundation there. While all looks lost to those on the outside, I think the Warriors will still manage to win 48-52 games, and when Klay gets back to full health, I think they will be back to being a top 4 seed.
The point is that the Warriors will still be good, just not as good as they have been for the past 5 years.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet.
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