After failing to win their third consecutive NBA championship, the Golden State Warriors took another huge blow in the 2019 NBA free agency when they lost one of their best players, All-Star forward Kevin Durant. Despite strong efforts from the Warriors front office to convince him to stay, Durant still ended up leaving Golden State to team up with Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan on the Brooklyn Nets. Aside from Durant, the Warriors also lost two integral parts of their second unit: Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.
The departure of those players will undeniably have an impact for the Warriors. However, in a recent interview with Joe Vardon of The Athletic, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said that if there is a player that they will miss the most in the 2019-20 NBA season, it won’t be Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, or Shaun Livingston, but All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson.
Though the Warriors managed to re-sign Klay Thompson to a five-year, $190 million max contract in the 2019 NBA free agency, he’s expected to miss most of the 2019-20 NBA season recovering from an ACL injury.
“Klay being out is really the big change,” Kerr said, as quoted by SFGate. “Losing Kevin, Andre (Iguodala), Shaun (Livingston), obviously, those are huge losses. Losing Klay on top of all that really changes the way we’re going to have to play at both ends. Klay was always an integral part of everything. Movement on offense, but also the guarding of the ball handler on defense, switching onto bigs. So until he gets back, we’ve got to re-imagine everything and adapt accordingly.”
Klay Thompson may not be a better player than Kevin Durant, but he’s undeniably one of the major reasons why the Warriors system has been working perfectly. Durant has indeed made the Warriors almost unstoppable in the last three years, but the 2014-15 NBA season and the 2015-16 NBA season proved that Golden State were a legitimate threat as long as they had the core of Thompson, Stephen Curry, and Draymond Green.
With Klay Thompson unlikely to play anytime soon, and their roster consisting of new faces, the Warriors still have plenty of things to do in order to have a better chance of reclaiming the NBA championship in the 2019-20 NBA season. However, Coach Kerr is very optimistic that they could find a way to bring the best out of their current roster and return to title contention.
“Lot of new beginnings, new arena, new roster, and probably some new things, style of play, strategy,” Kerr said. “We’ll figure that out as we go.”
As of now, one of the Warriors’ newest acquisitions, D’Angelo Russell, is expected to serve as Stephen Curry’s temporary backcourt partner while Klay Thompson is recovering from an injury. Kerr said on numerous occasions that they envision Russell as part of their long-term future. However, once Thompson is 100 percent healed and regains his All-Star form, most people believe that the Warriors will consider trading Russell before the 2020 February NBA traded deadline.
According to a previous The Inquisitr article, one of the potential landing spots for D’Angelo Russell is the Cleveland Cavaliers, where the Warriors could acquire All-Star power forward Kevin Love. Compared to Russell, Love would undeniably be a much better fit to the Warriors’ core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.