Last season, the Golden State Warriors were a nothing factor in the NBA. Kevin Durant left to team up with Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, Steph Curry only played five games before his injury and Klay Thompson missed the entire season with a torn ACL.
With a heavily depleted roster, the Warriors went 15-50 last season leaving them at the foot of the Western Conference, four games back of Minnesota Timberwolves.
How could they compete next season?
Should the Warriors backroom keep the current roster intact then it’s hard to see them making a run for the championship, but they should have the quality to make it into the playoffs. If they get favourable playoff matchups, then they could make it into the second round of the playoffs. If they make it any further than that, the Warriors will have well exceeded my expectations.
Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry coming back from injury is a huge boost for the Warriors. Certainly, there will be a few question marks surrounding Klay’s health after such a long layoff. If he does come back at 100%, with a backcourt of Steph and Klay, the Warriors could have an outside shot of contending next season, but they would need to do some work during this offseason.
At the minute, Golden State look weak at the centre position and need to address their lack of height across the court. Adding a thoroughbred big into their roster would allow the floor to be spaced for Steph and Klay whilst providing another scoring option. With an above-average centre, the Warriors could be an interesting team to watch and would have the potential to mount a championship run.
Will Klay be the same?
Just how good Klay will be after such a long-time off is yet to be seen. Many players who suffer a long-term ACL injury never come back the same. His hustle and tenacity on defence has been a huge miss when looking at the current roster. Apart from Draymond Green, the Warriors look very weak on defence.
The one major positive is his style of play is not as explosive as some players in the league, Klay does not make many highlight reels for mean dunks and powerful drives inside. His game is much more refined and precise. As a proven knock down catch and shoot type of player, Klay’s knees are not as important as they are to some players and as such, he should return just the way he left. An ice-cold three-point shooter.
The Golden State narrative
There are several narratives which will follow the Warriors this season, most of them surrounding their key players and their ability to stay fit for the duration of a season.
If they do not contend for a title this year, there will certainly be a lot of questions in the next offseason.