Watch Out for the Warriors

It seems like the Golden State Warriors have a bright future ahead of them.

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The Golden State Warriors have been the most dominant team in basketball for the past five years, winning three championships and setting numerous records. This season, however, they have been a complete shell of their former selves, currently holding the worst record in the NBA. This fall from grace is the result of three major changes: small forward Kevin Durant’s signing with the Brooklyn Nets, shooting guard Klay Thompson’s ACL tear, and point guard Steph Curry’s broken hand. Losing three All-Stars in one year has led Draymond Green, the one remaining All-Star on the team, to attempt to prove his worth in his own right. He has done the opposite, averaging only eight points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists on under 40 percent shooting from the field. Still, the future is surprisingly bright for this former powerhouse.

The Warriors have been struggling immensely without any premier offensive players like Durant or Curry, and their midseason trade of D’Angelo Russell did not help. Their addition of Andrew Wiggins from the Russell trade has been criticized by analysts and casual fans alike; Wiggins has long been an inefficient and selfish player, shooting just 44 percent from the field for his overall career. His assist numbers are equally uninspiring, at just 2.3 assists per game. Still, he is an athletic, young wing averaging nearly 20 points per game over six seasons in the league. With the Warriors’ great coaching staff, it is not improbable that he finally puts it all together and becomes an All-Star in the upcoming seasons.

While the Warriors’ 15-50 record this year is nothing but underwhelming, it will certainly help them in the long run. Holding the worst record in the league guarantees a top-three protected draft pick, and the Warriors would be foolish not to pick James Wiseman. Wiseman is perfect for the Warriors’ fast-paced offense, as an athletic big man with outside shooting capabilities. Furthermore, he could be the dominant big man the Warriors never had, even in their championship seasons.

With all of Green’s struggles this season, it is easy to write him off as overrated. History has shown, however, that Green thrives when surrounded by scorers, like Curry and Thompson, and he is still capable of running the Warriors offense as their primary or secondary ball handler. He has averaged over six assists for the past five seasons as a power forward, which makes him a premier playmaker at his position. His selflessness and grit, along with his stifling defense, makes him the heart of the Warriors: while he is not the best scorer, he compensates for it in every other category.

In addition to the top caliber starters, the Warriors have solid backup players on the bench. Eric Paschall, the 41st pick of the 2019 NBA Draft, has been great as a power forward, playing as the primary backup for Green. Kevon Looney has also been a solid player, especially during the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors, showing his grit and rebounding abilities. He, however, has been sidelined for the 2020 NBA season due to his hip injury.

It seems like the Warriors have a bright future ahead of them. With Curry, Thompson, Wiggins, and potentially Wiseman, along with a great supporting cast, fans can expect that next year’s team will hopefully rival the pre-Durant Warriors in team strength.