The 2018-19 NBA season marked the end of the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty. The Warriors entered the NBA Playoffs earlier this year as the heavy favorite to win the NBA championship, but on their road to their fifth straight appearance in the Finals, Golden State lost some of their core players to injuries one after another, giving the Toronto Raptors the opportunity to steal the throne. After a failed three-peat, the Warriors took another huge blow in the 2019 NBA free agency period when they failed to re-sign Kevin Durant, who decided to team up with Kyrie Irving on the Brooklyn Nets.
After losing one of their main men in Durant, most people no longer consider the Warriors as a strong title contender in the upcoming 2019-20 NBA season. However, there are still some people who believe that the Warriors have what it takes to bring home another Larry O’Brien Trophy to Golden State, including Kirk Goldsberry of ESPN. In his recent article, Goldsberry said that the Warriors would be a “terrifying” team next season, especially once Klay Thompson recovers from his injury.
“I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I’d be all over this bet. Why? Call me crazy, but if Klay Thompson returns to action by March or April, and the Warriors are in the playoffs, they’re terrifying. They still feature the best backcourt in the league, contract-year Draymond Green and a pretty good head coach. In a league teeming with unproven contenders, I’ll ride with these guys when it matters, assuming they’re healthy. The X factor in San Francisco will be the new guy, D’Angelo Russell, who provides the Warriors with yet another talented guard who can create shots for himself and others.”
The departure of Durant has undeniably affected the Warriors’ chances of reclaiming the title in the 2019-20 NBA season. However, as they still boast of the championship core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, the Warriors remain a team to fear in the deep Western Conference. Also, it’s worth noting that the Warriors didn’t lose Durant as an unrestricted free agent without getting anything in return.
In a sign-and-trade deal with the Nets, the Warriors managed to acquire D’Angelo Russell in exchange for Durant. Russell may not be as good as Durant right now, but he still gives the Warriors another All-Star-caliber talent who could fill the void KD left on the offensive end of the floor. Last season, Russell averaged 21.1 points on 43.4 percent shooting from the field and 36.9 percent shooting from three-point range and added seven assists and 1.2 steals per game.
There may still be a huge question regarding D’Angelo Russell’s fit on the Warriors’ roster, especially knowing that they have Curry and Thompson in their backcourt. However, if Russell manages to mesh well with the Splash Brothers and familiarize himself with the Warriors’ system, Golden State would definitely remain a terrifying team in the 2019-20 NBA season.