Leading up to this year’s hectic NBA season, we saw a major reshuffling of the league’s power dynamics. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard and many more notable players all switched teams, leaving fans skeptical of the approaching season. The only real constant that people predicted was the continued dominance of the Golden State Warriors.
That didn’t really pan out. Despite losing Kevin Durant to free agency, the Warriors received the up-and-coming D’Angelo Russel coming off of his first all-star campaign with Brooklyn as part of the sign-and-trade deal. They had lost Klay Thompson to injury, but Steph Curry and Draymond Green were expected to anchor the team’s core. Then the unexpected happened; Curry broke his hand and doomed the Warriors’ season for good.
Currently, they sit at an abysmal 13–48 record, the worst in the league by a wide margin. The roster is made up of an oft-injured Green, journeymen and G-League fodder. Sure, Curry should be back soon, but fans will see no comeback in 2020 for Golden State. I’m here to argue that, moving into next season, the Warriors are about to experience a turnaround unlike anything the league has ever seen.
The 2020–21 season will be the revenge tour of a lifetime. I expect the Warriors to return to a championship core that won 73 games in a season before Kevin Durant even joined the squad. Curry, Thompson and Green all still have it, and a year to rest up after so many deep playoff runs will do them some good. I expect them to match up well against the Los Angeles teams, both of which boast a mere two stars to the Warriors’ three. This core swept the Portland Trailblazers in last year’s Western Conference Finals. Steph, Klay and Dramond all have more than enough firepower to make a big run individually, but the three playing together again will prove to be unbeatable against any Western Conference power player.
However, it won’t be just those big three. The rather abysmal 2019–20 roster around them will look supremely different next year. First, let’s look at the mainstays. Eric Paschall has been a revelation this season, averaging 13.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, and is sure to be a main player for the Warriors moving forward. Kevon Looney is returning on a bargain of a deal and should augment the big three well after big minutes during the finals. But here’s the kicker: the Warriors have the resources to reload with another star or a war chest of role players, whichever the front office sees most fit. Their league-worst record could easily net them a top three pick in this upcoming draft lottery, and they can package that with some other pieces, like the recently acquired Andrew Wiggins, to revamp their roster. Golden State could dream big and go after a star like Bradley Beal, who would certainly make them a feared force in the West once more.
This is why, before the 2020–21 season even starts, I’m calling my shot. The Warriors will bring a championship to their shiny new arena in the heart of San Francisco, erase this year’s disappointing season and re-establish themselves as a dynasty.