Additions: D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Poole, Alec Burks, Willie-Cauley Stein, Glenn Robinson III, Eric Paschall, Marquese Chriss
Departures: Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Quinn Cook, Jordan Bell, Jonas Jerebko, Andrew Bogut
For the first time in several years, the Golden State Warriors are not heavy and outright favorites to win the title. After a tumultuous disband with Kevin Durant that featured the superstar truly expressing feelings about his tenure with the team, Golden State is down one megastar. Add in the subtraction of DeMarcus Cousins, who decided to head down the coast to sunny L.A. and the glitzy, storied Lakers. Finally, factor in Klay Thompson’s ACL injury which has sidelined him until February, and Golden State is down to two All-Stars after starting five at points during last season.
The Dubs have proved they can win without Durant, but the injury of Thompson and loss of 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala/veteran contributor Shaun Livingston leaves the Warriors significantly less on firepower to begin the 2019-20 season. Many pundits and even fans have written off the Warriors as a result, with some analysts going as far as to say the Warriors will not reach the playoffs. For a team with championship pedigree, pride, and interactions with adversity, the “haters” may be proved wrong.
With MVP Stephen Curry and all-around man Draymond Green leading the team until Thompson can return, the Warriors still have the capacity to win games. And IF they are competitive come Thompson’s return, the Splash Brothers may pick it up. In other words, they still have the solid three-man core that won them their first championship, so why write them off when they have proved themselves in the past?
If the Warriors sneak into the playoffs in a loaded West, they will not be an easy out, as teams can infer, and will certainly pose a challenge. Just look at last season’s Finals, Toronto still had to fight every minute just to get wins, even sans Durant.
In Thompson’s absence, the Warriors traded for rising guard D’Angelo Russell from the Brooklyn Nets as a method of recuperation for losing Durant. Still only 23, Russell is the most significant addition for Golden State from the offseason and provides excellent shooting. Alongside Curry, this temporary backcourt will be effective, and even stronger once Thompson returns.
In addition, the Warriors re-signed center Kevon Looney and added former Kings center, Willie-Cauley Stein, making the position remain respectable with proven players. The Dubs also added Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks as a means of shooting and bench depth. 2016 1st round pick Marquese Chriss rounds out the additions. Golden State also drafted SG Jordan Poole out of Michigan and PF Eric Paschall out of Villanova. With all these additions, the Warriors hope to glue in the gaps left by departures.
The Golden State Warriors are far from rebuild mode, in fact, they are still in contending mode. Though the losses from the offseason look glaring on paper, remember that stars still play for this team. The key staples of the franchise that had been drafted and developed all remain, with Thompson and Draymond being signed to lucrative extensions during the offseason. The decision to lock down Curry, Thompson, and Green show the Warriors are all-in on winning and hopefully keeping their home-grown players on the team until they retire. The mere presence of them has made them a formidable foe in the Western Conference the past five years. Teams will certainly be wise to not overlook these Bay Area beasts, and though they will likely not get the top seed in the conference, their true capabilities will show come playoff time, no matter the seed.