The start of training camps across the NBA is less than three weeks away, and the anticipation of the new season is building.
For the Golden State Warriors, it means a unique opportunity to accomplish something truly unique: win their fifth championship in nine years and place themselves in some very select company.
They will have a slightly different supporting cast this coming season, especially coming off the bench, but the core that defeated the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals in June is still intact.
Head coach Steve Kerr downplayed any notion of a championship hangover and said his squad will be “really excited” and “ready to roll.”
"I don’t think we’re gonna be burned out by any means. In fact I think we'll be really excited. I think all of our guys will be ready to roll, ramp it back up and try to repeat."
Steve Kerr and the Dubs want another trophy 🏆
— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) September 8, 2022
In fact, the Warriors could be primed to look ever better than they did during the 2021-22 season.
Golden State Has Accumulated A Cadre Of Youngsters
The Warriors team that hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy weeks ago was different from the one that won back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018.
Back then, they were a top-heavy team built around the old guard of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, as well as the remarkable talents of Kevin Durant.
They lacked much in the way of a bench, and they got the job done through sheer superstar power.
But the current iteration is a deeper and more well-balanced squad, if not a better one.
While Thompson and Curry were dealing with severe injuries a couple of years ago, the team spent time developing young talent while also working some deals to reconfigure and redevelop the right supporting cast.
When Durant departed in 2019, Golden State had the great fortune of turning it into a sign-and-trade with the Brooklyn Nets that brought back All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell.
Midway through the 2019-20 campaign, he was sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Andrew Wiggins and a first-round draft pick that became Jonathan Kuminga.
That trade had a ton to do with the Warriors’ resurgence, as Wiggins remade himself into a glorified 3-and-D player, while Kuminga has shown potential as a defensive stopper and ancillary offensive option.
The development of Kuminga, along with the return of center James Wiseman, who didn’t play at all last season due to injury, will determine whether the Warriors are merely contenders or possibly a dominant team this year.
I’m excited as hell to get James Wiseman back! pic.twitter.com/FQUSEYlaRd
— Seanathon Targaryan (@seanathon_Oak) June 16, 2022
How Motivated Will Golden State Be To Repeat As Champs?
It is axiomatic in sports and in life in general that when someone accomplishes a huge goal, they’re prone to suffering a letdown afterward, as they must identify a new goal that will drive them just as the previous one did.
The motivation for the Warriors will be to get one for the thumb, which will elevate their dynasty into some rarefied air.
Only a few NBA teams have won five world championships in a 10-year span: the Boston Celtics of the late 1950s and 1960s, Michael Jordan‘s Chicago Bulls in the 1990s and the Los Angeles Lakers, who have actually done so more than once.
It is an opportunity for the Warriors to be seen as not just a very good franchise, but a dominant one that will transcend eras.NEXT: Shaquille O'Neal Gives Stephen Curry Massive Praise