The Golden State Warriors were a once-dominant franchise in the NBA.
They appeared in 5 straight finals, winning 3 of them while compiling a 322-88 regular-season record.
Steve Kerr implemented an incredibly efficient offense that broke NBA records on a yearly basis.
4 YEARS AGO TODAY
The Golden State Warriors made history by winning an NBA record 73 games.
More regular-season records
0 back-to-back losses
14-0 road start
34 road wins
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) April 14, 2020
Curry was the engine driving the buzzsaw, but it was the whole team buying-in that made them so dangerous.
However, they fell off a cliff after their 5th Finals appearance.
Durant left for the Brooklyn Nets and Klay missed the full season after tearing his ACL in Game 6 of the 2018-2019 Finals.
And then in the 4th game of the 2019-2020 season, Curry broke his hand that forced him to miss 3 months.
The Warriors finished with the worst record in the league and drafted 2nd in the 2020 NBA draft.
This season was supposed to be a return of the Warriors.
But Klay suffered a torn Achilles in the offseason and has been out all year.
Golden State G Klay Thompson will undergo testing within the next few days on a leg injury suffered in a workout in Southern California today, sources tell ESPN. The severity of the injury is unclear. Thompson missed the 2019-2020 season with a torn ACL in his left knee.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 18, 2020
They are in contention for the playoffs this year but are not considered true contenders.
Here is how Golden State can get back to the NBA Finals in 2022.
The most important thing for the Warriors is to get their big three healthy and keep them healthy.
Pending setbacks, Klay should return for the 2021-2022 season.
Pairing him with Curry completely changes the dynamic of the offense.
His elite shooting ability draws some attention away from Steph, allowing the offense to flow more freely and open up driving lanes.
Klay Thompson really shot over 40% from 3 every year of his career with good defense and required zero ball dominance
— #ExtendTobiasHarris (@ssportsshi) March 18, 2021
Klay is also an All-Defensive caliber defender who typically defends the other team’s best wing player.
Thompson has suffered the most serious injuries, but Steph and Draymond have been dealing with minor injuries as well.
Green missed 22 games last year and has missed 6 games this year.
Steph missed the 3 months last season and has missed 4 games this year.
For the Warriors to get back into the Finals next year, they need their Big 3 of Curry, Klay, and Green to all be healthy.
Warriors Need to Make Wiseman Determination
Golden State’s lost 2019-2020 season that gave them the 2nd overall pick in the draft saw them wind up with James Wiseman.
A 7′ unicorn who has the potential to be a 3-level scorer and dynamic defender.
He has had a solid rookie year so far.
In 29 games, he has averaged 11.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 1.0 BPG while shooting 52.6% from the field and 36.7% from 3.
Wiseman has had his rookie moments, but he has shown flashes of what could become.
Steve Kerr: "I anticipate James (Wiseman) is gonna start the rest of the season. It feels like a good time to get him into the lineup. We feel like after 43 games, James has come along really well." https://t.co/zqKDEkgPEr
— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) March 24, 2021
But he is still just a rookie.
It is no guarantee he would be able to contribute to a Finals team in his sophomore year.
So Golden State will need to decide whether or not to keep their blue-chip prospect or flip him for a more established player.
The Warriors have stated they won’t trade Wiseman or the Top-3 Protected 1st-Round Pick from the Timberwolves unless they get a “generational player” in return like Giannis Antetokounmpo or Joel Embiid.
Neither of those players is likely to be traded, but it sets the bar for who Golden State is looking to acquire.
If Bradley Beal were to become available, he would surely be considered a generational player.
Curry, Beal, and Thompson would form a lethal offensive backcourt.
While it seems unlikely Golden State will do anything major at this year’s deadline, they are a team to keep an eye on this offseason.
With the pick and Wiseman, they would have attractive offers for any top players available through trade.