The Golden State Warriors are heading into 2019 coming off their fifth straight NBA Finals appearance. They have cemented themselves as one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history. The Warriors have also solidified themselves in history because they fundamentally changed the way that basketball is played. The new era of pace and space, jacking up three-point shots at a historic rate. Every team is trying to copy what the Warriors have created.
The 2019-20 season will be the first since their 2014-15 title that the Warriors are not the favorites entering the year. The Warriors have gone through several major changes this past offseason. The NBA’s modern dynasty will be looking to bounce back after their defeat in the Finals to the Toronto Raptors.
The Golden State Warriors Season Preview
Recap of Last Season
The Golden State Warriors had a stellar season last year. They were conference champions in the loaded West, winning 57 games during the regular season. The addition of DeMarcus Cousins in the offseason was considered a major coup for the Warriors. Despite coming back from an Achilles tear, Cousins was still considered one of the most dominant offensive big men in the NBA.
The core of roster remained the same from their past years, consisting of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala. This core took the team to a franchise-record seventh straight playoff appearance.
Despite losing Durant to a calf injury, the Warriors breezed through the western conference playoffs, finishing with a record of 12-4. What seemed to be another inevitable title for the unbeatable Warriors turned into an injury-plagued NBA Finals. Durant tore his Achilles in game five after his returning from his calf injury, Thompson tore his ACL in game six after missing game three with an ankle sprain, and Cousins was dealing with a quadriceps tear that he suffered in the first round of the playoffs. Ultimately, Curry was not enough to defeat the Kawhi Leonard-led Toronto Raptors.
The Warriors were a victim of arguably the most hectic offseason in NBA history. Most notably, they lost Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets in a sign-and-trade. Durant will most likely miss the entire 2019-20 season recovering from his Achilles injury, but it is still a major loss. Thompson will also miss the majority of the upcoming season as he rehabs his ACL injury that he suffered in the Finals. Cousins decided to go to the Los Angeles Lakers before unfortunately injuring his ACL. Another underrated loss was the departure of former Finals MVP Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Those are three of four players who scored in double figures for the Warriors who are either on other teams or will be missing the majority of the season through injury. A new potential splash brother was added as young D’Angelo Russell was acquired in the Durant trade. Russell is coming off of a breakthrough season with Brooklyn where he averaged a career-high 21 points per game and was named to his first All-Star team.
Golden State then added Jordan Poole, Eric Paschall, Alen Smailagic, Miye Oni in the 2019 NBA Draft. The Warriors are looking to become exponentially younger as they try and re-tool to a new phase of the franchise.
The expectations for the Warriors are lower than in previous years. They still have one of the greatest players ever in his prime in Curry. Russell is an elite shooter and playmaker who can add another dimension to this roster. He is another player who is lethal in the pick-and-roll and will allow Curry to play away from the ball more. This will alleviate a lot of offensive workload for the two-time MVP.
Unfortunately for Steve Kerr and Warriors fans, the West is exponentially harder than it was last year. The Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz all added All-Sar level talent. Young teams like the Sacramento Kings, Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves will have another season of growth and maturity. It will be a major victory if the Warriors make the playoffs.
Golden State Warriors 2019 Season Predictions
There are rumors that the Warriors will use D’Angelo Russell as a trade piece at some point this year to take advantage of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson’s primes. If so, a team like the Detroit Pistons who have Blake Griffin could be an option. If they chose to keep Russell, the Warriors could make the playoffs as one of the lower seeds. Russell has the potential to be one of the best scoring guards in the league. Russell can make that jump into one of the elite guards in the league, making Golden State a contender once again.
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