Throughout the last five years, the Golden State Warriors have reigned as undoubtedly the best team in the National Basketball Association (NBA), mowing over the majority of the league with ease and taking home three of their five straight final appearances.
After a devastating loss in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, the whole league was in shock. Though they were suffering from key injuries such as Kevin Durant’s Achilles injury and Klay Thompson’s torn ACL, it still came as a surprise that the fully healthy Toronto Raptors were able to take down the Warriors. This is no doubt a testament to how truly amazing this team was.
Fast-forwarding to the off-season, the Warriors have a completely different roster. They lost Kevin Durant along with the majority of their veteran core, including players such as Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. The off-season additionally held many exciting moves as a result of these losses, including the acquisition of 23-year-old all-star point guard D’Angelo Russell.
While many remained relatively sure that the Warriors would make the playoffs in their 2019-20 season, early signs are continuing to point further away from this goal. Not only is the star shooting guard Klay Thompson’s return unlikely for this season, but Stephen Curry has now sustained a broken left hand, which will no doubt keep him sidelined for the majority of the season. Having lost their two best players and many scoring options, the Warriors now look to many no-name rookies and young talent to carry out the season. What was once seen as an opportunity for Stephen Curry to have yet another MVP season has now spiraled into a chaotic San Francisco media storm.
Some have said the cause of this new injured Warrior team is the Chase Center and their move to San Francisco. The team recently left Oakland because of better funding and improved amenities. However, they won four NBA championships at the Oracle Arena, and the team does not seem to be on the path to one this year.
This injury plagued team has had every reason to give up and begin tanking for a lottery draft pick; however, this is far from the case. Despite the NBA’s current state of balance and heavily loaded teams throughout the league, the term “super team” appears to be gradually fading away. While there are still favorites such as the Lakers and the Clippers, every NBA game truly feels as if any team could win on any given day, which has been absent from the league in recent years.
Many Warriors fans have turned away from the team’s disappointing 3-15 record and obscure roster, but in reality, Warriors basketball is just as exciting as it has ever been. This group of rookies and no-names continue to make a statement to the league, proving that the Warriors can still put up a fight against any team even without their superstars. Even if it is not directly reflected by their record, this group of players has been impressive, to say the least. While we have seen many players step up this season, the second-round pick from Villanova, Eric Paschall, has shone especially bright. The rookie has already had multiple thirty-point nights and will no doubt be in consideration if he continues to improve and show his talent throughout the rest of the season. This season has been somewhat of a rewind to the many years of struggling Warriors teams before the dynasty era.
Although it may not be the star-studded Warriors that many have become accustomed to in recent years, this team is hungry and eager to prove themselves, which will lead to greater success down the line.