They were not among the favorites last season, but their DNA of champions brought back, four years later, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Steve Kerr on the throne of the NBA. Rekindled, can the Warriors dynasty continue?
For ESPN, in its forecasts based on different statistical coefficients, Golden State will fight to reach … the play-offs.
Provocation? Crime of lèse-majesté? Steve Kerr and his men don’t really care and, in a way, being so underestimated suits them well. They, whom few had seen come back to the final in the spring, would gladly continue to make their own the saying “to live happily, live hidden”.
Nevertheless, the “Dubs” will inevitably be expected at the turn, by a horde of ambitious and armed rivals, named Clippers, Suns, Lakers, Grizzlies or Mavericks, for the Western Conference alone.
Their summer was rather calm, after the festivities celebrating obtaining the 7th title in their history against the Celtics, the 4th of the Curry era (after 2015, 2017 and 2018) in six finals (2016 and 2019 lost).
In terms of the workforce, confidence was logically maintained in the stars and executives forming its backbone. The departures of Juan Toscano-Anderson, Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr. and Nemanja Bjelica were filled by the arrivals of shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo and experienced winger JaMychal Green.
– Wiseman finally launched? –
But the best “rookie” could be the talented James Wiseman, 21, drafted in 2nd position in 2020, fit to play again after his right meniscus injury contracted in April 2021. His presence inside with the promising Jonathan Kuminga (20 years) and those of the back Jordan Poole (23 years old) as of the winger Andrew Wiggins (26 years old) give guarantees for the future.
“What’s notable is the prevalence of youth in our group,” said Steve Kerr.
“Once we put aside our five majors and two substitutes, we have first-year and second-year players. It’s exciting but also somewhat discouraging, because you can’t decently claim to win the championship,” said- he added, with a hint of bluff, recalling that it had “taken a few years for Steph (Curry) and Klay (Thompson) to learn how to win”.
The will to fight it out remains no less ardent, even if the latter, who made a successful comeback after two and a half years of treating ruptures of a cruciate ligament and an Achilles tendon, suffered a backlash this summer, due to a “mental block”, certainly overcome since.
“I’m very excited to defend our title, which has rewarded all the work,” said his “Splash brother” Stephen Curry, recalling the black bread eaten in the three seasons before, after the departure of Kevin Durant.
The all-time leading three-point scorer has since evolved into a formidable leader, rewarded with a Finals MVP award in June, making his fourth championship ring the brightest of them all.
– Stability, serenity? –
At 34, Curry does not decline and even masters his game more than ever, having added to his bow a defensive string that we did not know him. Paying result of a lot of work which saw him considerably strengthen his physique as a leader (1.91 m, 84 kg).
The “stability” of the Warriors, which Steve Kerr welcomes, should rhyme with serenity. Except that it is far from complete, before opening the season on Tuesday against the Lakers of LeBron James.
She was indeed put to the test, with the punch delivered by Draymond Green to Jordan Poole, during an altercation in training. The winger, sanctioned internally with a fine, the amount of which has not been disclosed, then apologized and retired for a few days.
“It’s the biggest crisis we’ve had since I’ve been coaching here,” admitted Kerr, while praising the attitude of Poole, who not only did not demand a stronger sanction against his teammate, such a suspension, but also showed a desire to turn the page.
The rear, who extended until 2027 with the Warriors for 140 million dollars, also played a few minutes Friday with Green in preseason, without apparent tension.