I got to admit I have never been the biggest Warriors fan, I still recall the organization choosing to build around Stephen Curry and ending the Monta Ellis era and also Curry’s 44 point outburst in San Antonio before Steve Kerr ever became the head coach. I never gave Stephen Curry much credit for the 2015 championship being that LeBron James was without both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in that series and simply outmatched and then the 2 rings with Kevin Durant didn’t carry much weight in my opinion since Stephen Curry never really needed Kevin Durant to compete for more titles. The 4th championship in Boston was amazing, I don’t support Stephen Curry but I got shades of the 1998 NBA Finals since that series appeared to be competitive until Michael Jordan decided enough was enough. I felt that same way watching Curry it was almost like he gauged the Boston Celtics the first 3 games in the Finals and realized their defense was practically smoke screens and never really was that impressive.
Most compared the Celtics and Warriors rosters and went off the momentum Boston carried going into the Finals after closing out the Miami Heat at home but I always looked at the head-coaching matchup. There was never no way that first year head coach Ime Udoka was going to outcoach Steve Kerr through a 7-game series, full credit to Ime Udoka for getting the team on track heading into the second half of the season and figuring out a way to get Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to trust their teammates which opened up the opportunity for Marcus Smart to do much more than just harass players off the ball and catch and shoot 3’s but the Celtics lacked the mental competence to take down an experienced Warriors team that had been there and done that. So the question is can the Warriors go back to back next season? Will the return of Kawhi Leonard,Anthony Davis,Jamal Murray, and Zion Williamson make the competition even more steep? Remember the Warriors faced a Nuggets team without Jamal Murray, Ja Morant was in and out with injuries in the second round, and Luka had probably the worst front-court for a playoff team in the history of the NBA’s existence .
I think they can certainly go back to back but it’s not something I would bet on, the losses of Otto Porter Jr and Gary Payton II will hurt their defense which was the biggest strength these past playoffs. Otto Porter Jr made countless timely defensive plays and several momentum changing shots and Gary Payton II proved just how much of an impact he made for the Warriors in the regular season as when he returned for the Finals against Boston. Of course the Warriors signed 2 role players who will fit in seamlessly into Kerr’s motion offense in Donte DiVincenzo and JaMychal Green but neither Donte or JaMychal will provide the effort on defense Gary did and Otto we all know always had the tools to wreck havoc on defense he was just never competing for much in Washinton with Beal and Wall. Klay Thompson should be both more physically and mentally ready to have a real resurgence next season and not the semi-resurgence he had this past season where you felt like he was finally coming around but never quite did. I mean sure Klay had his moments the 2022 NBA Playoffs but he was not the second best player through their miracolous run it was Andrew Wiggins just ask Mark Cuban who felt Andrew was the difference maker in their entire series against his Dallas MAvericks.
The Warriors have one advantage over the rest of the teams in the NBA and it is continuity, Stephen Curry,Klay Thompson,Draymmond Green and head coach Steve Kerr have proven time and time again that they can win multiple playoff series even without Kevin Durant and usually when Steph,Klay,and Green are out there for the Warriors come playoff team they have been close to impossible to beat only LeBron James has been capable of the rare feat. Before this season I predicted the Warriors would get exposed come playoff time and boy was I wrong, I figured Kevin Durant covered their deficiencies on offense after they were exposed by LeBron’s Cavaliers after they practically blitzed Steph Curry and Klay Thompson Games 5,6,and 7 and forced someone else to beat them which ultimately worked. I figured their offense would get redundant come playoff time without Durant even with the emergence of Jordan Poole but their defense saved them the entire playoffs and was good enough to compensate for Klay’s shooting struggles.
Ultimately the Warriors season could be effected by pending decisions on who they will sign between their soon to be free agents in Jordan Poole,Andrew Wiggins,and Draymmond Green. The media will find some way to push Draymmond or Poole out of Golden State, Wiggins not so much since he is approaching 30 and isn’t going to become a superstar no matter where he elects to sign assuming he leaves the Warriors. Wiggins just has less responsibility on the Warriors now, he can safely hide behind Curry and Klay on offense now and focus on defense,rebounding, and scoring off the dribble when needed. I never mentioned James Wiseman because I have concerns about his fit within the Warriors offense and I don’t have much faith he’ll figure it all out in one season even if he is being aided by one of the best leader in the game in Draymmond Green who will be sure to try and bring out the best in him. My prediction is the Warriors don’t capture lightning in a bottle the way they did last season, teams will be keyed in on them all season and they’ll fall at the hands of one of LeBron,Giannis, and Kawhi in this next campaign.