Steph Curry has had himself a very successful NBA career. He has gone from being a small, undersized skill player to the most dominant shooter in league history. It’s been said that Steph has forever changed the game. The once lowly Warriors were able to turn themselves into a dynasty because of his impact. However, Kevin Durant’s departure and Klay Thompson’s injuries have left people wondering if Stephen Curry can win another title in Golden State.
After five straight trips to the NBA Finals, Golden State plummeted to the bottom of the league. Many expected the Dubs to regress in 2020 after KD left in free agency, but few expected them to be the worst team in basketball.
So far, 2021 has shown better results but nothing near satisfactory. We’re going to look at the surrounding factors of the current state of the Warriors. The goal in mind is to determine if Stephen Curry can win another title in Golden State.
Health Has Been An Issue
The Warriors struggled a lot in the 2019-20 season. Injuries to your best players tend to have that effect. Klay Thompson missed the season with a torn ACL, and Steph was out for most of the year with a broken hand. This left Golden State in a precarious position. There are no suitable replacements for the greatest shooting backcourt in league history.
This season was supposed to be different. Steph and Klay were going to come back healthy, and with the help of returning role players and key additions to the roster, lead the team back to the playoffs. Unfortunately, Thompson suffered yet another injury. This time a torn achilles tendon. With Curry healthy, the Warriors have remained competitive but can barely hold on to a play-in spot.
Considering how important he is to Golden State’s success, Klay Thompson missing the last two years ought to raise much concern. Who’s to say that he’ll return next year as the same player? If he’s not, what are Curry and the Warriors to do then?
The Other Warriors
Without their two biggest stars, the Dubs bottomed out. However, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Because they were one of the worst teams in the NBA in 2020, Golden State landed the second overall pick in the draft. They selected James Wiseman. His collegiate career at Memphis was short-lived, but he displayed enough potential to remain a top prospect. That said, his rookie campaign has left more to be desired.
Additionally, players added in the offseason like Kelly Oubre and Kent Bazemore haven’t performed as advertised. Andrew Wiggins hasn’t gotten better in his first full season with the group either. Even with the prospect of Klay Thompson coming back, as far as competing for championships goes, there’s still something missing here.
The Warriors might own the right to another lottery pick, depending on how the Minnesota Timberwolves close out the year. But the chances of that draft pick becoming an immediate contributor to a championship team is low.
They’re Running Out Of Time
Regardless of what’s going on with Klay Thompson’s health, or the complementary pieces on the roster, the window is closing on the Warriors. As their stars age, younger stars on up-and-coming teams are improving. Zion Williamson and the Pelicans; Luka Doncic and the Mavericks; even Ja Morant and the Grizzlies are slowly coming up the ranks out West.
While they’re coming up, the great teams of today’s western conference are still tough-outs in the postseason. You have the LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Denver Nuggets, and Utah Jazz, among others to contend with right now. Even in full health, there’s no way to be sure that the Warriors can still get past all of these groups.
We’ve seen past scenarios not too different from the Warriors’ current situation. After a championship victory in 2008, a late-season injury to Kevin Garnett ended any hopes of a repeat for the Boston Celtics in 2009. Coming back healthy the next season, Boston reached back to the finals. In 2015, Kevin Durant suffered a severe foot injury that kept him out for most of the year. Oklahoma City ended up missing the playoffs. The next season, Durant led the Thunder to the Western Conference finals.
The Warriors could very well follow the same trend that these other teams. However, a lot has changed about this team since their last championship already. Golden State knows what it takes to win a championship. Unfortunately for them, there are factors involved in this chase that are out of their control.
Can Stephen Curry win another title in Golden State? I’d like to think so. The odds aren’t in their favor, though. It all depends on what the Warriors do this coming offseason.