The Warriors came out of nowhere in 2015, and have since been to four straight Finals, winning three of them. Led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and later, Kevin Durant, they have a strong argument for greatest team of all time.
They still have more championship basketball left in them. Curry and Durant, their two superstars, are going to be thirty this offseason, and Thompson and Green are twenty-eight. They’re still in their primes.
Curry, Durant, and Thompson should be expected to age gracefully. Their shooting won’t disappear, and their game doesn’t rely on astounding athleticism. Draymond Green, with all the wear-and-tear of playing a position he’s undersized to defend, may have a rougher time.
The Warriors’ most important members of their supporting cast are also aging. Andre Iguodala is already thirty-four, and has shown signs of age, even though his peak performance is still quite high. Shaun Livingston will turn thirty-three before next season, and although he doesn’t play big minutes, he could decline anytime. I’d expect both players to be effective for only a few more years, and the falloff to be steep.
This leaves the Warriors thin, and their lack of depth mattered this year. Hopefully, young guys Jordan Bell, Damian Jones, and Quinn Cook have value heading into the future. Keeping Kevon Looney and Patrick McCaw, who are both free agents, will help the youth movement as well.
As the team retools for the future, they’re going to have to find better wings, especially if Iguodala isn’t expected to play as many minutes. The unequal roster construction almost cost them dearly in the Rockets series. We’ll see if they can shore up this weakness in the offseason.
The rest of the league is catching up, even though they might be a few years away. Houston might not be as good next year as they were last year, but they’ll still be a threat. Out east, the Sixers and Celtics seem primed for big leaps, and whatever team LeBron decides to go will obviously be a contender.
I don’t expect the Warriors to do any better than they did in 2017, when they lost only one game in the playoffs, even if they do integrate Kevin Durant into the offense a little better in the future. I do think they’ll begin to slowly decline from here.
How long the Warriors are contenders, and how many more championships they win, is mostly up to the competition. The gap is closing and one day the Warriors will fall. How soon can the league build an opponent to beat the Warriors?
Houston was already close enough. Adding LeBron would make the matchup at least completely even. Otherwise, a healthy Celtics with another star, the Sixers with Kawhi Leonard, or a superteam Lakers could compete. After the player movement of the 2017 offseason, anything is possible from here, and like the Warriors, the next dynasty could rise from nowhere.
I think the Warriors have one more championship in store, and maybe another one or two if they’re lucky. Appreciate this while it lasts, folks.