For the first time in five years, the Golden State Warriors entered the 2019-20 NBA season excluded from one of the top favorites to win the NBA championship title. That isn’t surprising at all since the Warriors lost several members of their championship core this summer, including Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, and Shaun Livingston. Though they still have Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson, the Warriors’ road to the 2020 NBA Finals isn’t expected to be easy, especially with the emergence of new powerhouse teams in the Western Conference like the LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers and the Kawhi Leonard-led Los Angeles Clippers.
On Thursday night, the Warriors tested the power of the new-look Clippers. Despite not having Paul George on their side, the Clippers walked away with a 141-122 victory, showing the Warriors that they are seriously aiming for their throne in the Western Conference. According to SFGate, during halftime of the game, NBA Hall of Famer and analyst Charles Barkley interviewed All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson, who is expected to be on the sideline for most of the regular season.
Charles Barkley wished Klay Thompson a speedy recovery and responded to his statement that the Warriors’ championship window will be open for another few years. Without any hesitation, Barkley said in front of Thompson that the Warriors won’t be making it to the Western Conference Playoff this season.
“Number one, I hope you get back soon, but you’re just wrong,” Barkley said. “I was wrong before the game. I said (the Warriors) were gonna be the 7,8 seed. They’re not going to make the playoffs. They just can’t score enough.”
It’s hard to blame Charles Barkley for predicting the Warriors will suffer a disappointing season. The Warriors didn’t only lose a reliable scoring option in Kevin Durant but also one of their key contributors in the postseason in Andre Iguodala. To make things more complicated, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr recently said that Thompson is “unlikely” to play in the 2019-20 NBA season.
Klay Thompson decided to fire back and defended his young teammates from Charles Barkley. Thompson expressed strong confidence that Warriors’ young players like Jordan Poole, Glenn Robinson, and Marquese Chriss will step up and prove their doubters wrong this season.
“I mean, Chuck has a right to be a little pessimistic, but I think these young guys are gonna step up, man,” Thompson said. “I did a shooting drill with Jordan Poole yesterday — he smoked me three out of five spots. Glenn Robinson has plenty of experience in this league. I really like what Marquese (Chriss) has given us this training camp.”
If the current talents on their roster continue to grow together and build better chemistry, the Warriors are indeed capable of making a huge noise in the deep Western Conference this season. However, the Warriors will undeniably need a healthy Klay Thompson back in order to have a realistic chance of winning the 2020 NBA championship title.