The Golden State Warriors have been running riot over the league for the past five years, winning three championships. Throughout their run, three players have consistently performed at a very high level throughout the regular season and playoffs. Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Steph Curry have been sensational in terms of their production and impact.
They were the original cast that effectively changed the league, along with Steve Kerr, thanks to their impact on the break and with their shooting. Green transformed the league with his performances as an undersized Center, while Klay and Steph took over the NBA with their sharpshooting.
Even with the departure of Kevin Durant, the Warriors should not be overlooked. The core three of Green, Thompson, and Curry are still there, and the major additions of D’Angelo Russel and Willie Caulie-Stein will place the Warriors back into playoff contention. Yet, many seem to disregard the Warriors as a potential threat to the remaining top teams in the NBA.
Here are the five major reasons why the Warriors can surprise the NBA universe, and become NBA champions once again.
1. The Core Of The 73-9 Team
The All-NBA trio of Green, Thompson, and Curry will still be leading the charge for the Warriors. Dating back to the Warriors 73-9 team, only Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut are missing from the starting lineup. Replacing them with Russel and Caulie-Stein can be considered an upgrade due to their youth, offensive production, and impact in their former teams.
The Warriors also have role-players that can replace key performers in the 73-9 team including Kevon Looney and Alec Burks. While they may not be as deep as they were in the past, they still have the three most important pieces returning to the team.
2. The Impact of Stephen Curry
This is the best time for Stephen Curry to perform as the best player in the league. He previously outperformed every player in the league on two separate occasions, winning the regular season MVP both times. This could be his third season.
With all the talk that Curry cannot lead his team to the promised land without Durant and Thompson (injury); along with the knock-on his lack of clutch performances, Curry might attack this season with the most fire of anyone in the league. He is ready to prove he is the best player in the league, and lead his team into the Playoffs.
3. D’Angelo Russel – The X Factor
Russel had a tremendous season last year, becoming the best player on a Nets team that made the Playoffs. Russel showed improvements in his offensive game, along with becoming a much better playmaker.
He still has lots of promise and might be one of the best young players in the league. Russel will have a lot on his plate in order to replace Durant, but he can be an X-Factor with his excellent scoring and playmaking skills next to Stephen Curry.
4. Championship Experience
If there is one attribute that sticks out with teams competing for a championship, it is championship experience. This team knows what it takes to win, starting from their original Big 3 to the coaches. Steve Kerr knows how to lead this team, and keep them motivated throughout the season. Curry knows how to dominate a game offensively, and Green knows how to dominate defensively.
Thompson, when healthy, is one of the best two-way players in the entire league. They will be primed and ready to attack this season with an aggressive fire, and this will spread to the new guys including Russel and Caulie-Stein.
5. The Comeback of Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson has made it known that he will be ready to return 110%. Klay felt slighted last season when he was not voted onto an All-NBA team, despite his consistent performances on both ends of the court. Thompson will want to prove once and for all that he is a special player with special abilities.
While no one can deny his supreme shooting and defensive skills, Klay wants to impact the game like all the top stars in the league. He will return from his injury stronger and more confident than ever, which will be scary for the rest of the league.