The Golden State Warriors are getting set to kickoff their 2020-21 preseason schedule with a matchup against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday.
The Dubs have had an eventful few months. The team lost superstar Klay Thompson to a devastating injury, but general manager Bob Myers did his best to mitigate the loss by acquiring Kelly Oubre Jr. from the Phoenix Suns.
Without Thompson, the pressure on the other two members of Golden State’s Big 3 grows. Stephen Curry and Draymond Green will have to elevate their games without Klay if the Warriors want to be a part of the championship conversation.
Curry, who missed basically all of last season due to injuries, will make his long-awaited return. The 32-year-old was ranked eighth in ESPN’s top 100 NBA players list ahead of the beginning of the new season:
“This is the lowest Curry has ranked since breaking out as a star in the 2013 postseason. The issue is availability, as a broken bone in Curry’s right hand limited him to five games last season and he missed a combined 44 games the previous two campaigns. If he can stay healthy, we’ll find out the floor for a Curry-led offense lacking a second plus scorer after Klay Thompson’s Achilles injury ended his season before it began. Without Thompson and Kevin Durant, the Warriors will be more dependent on Curry for shot creation than ever before.”
Head coach Steve Kerr said he would keep an eye on Curry’s minutes during the upcoming season, but what was before Thompson got hurt. It will take Steph some time to find his footing after not playing a game in more than nine months.
It’s no secret that the Dubs will go as far as the two-time NBA MVP takes them during the 2020-21 campaign.
Here are the top 10 players on ESPN’s list:
1) LeBron James, 2) Anthony Davis, 3) Giannis Antetokounmpo, 4) Luka Doncic, 5) Kawhi Leonard, 6) Kevin Durant, 7) Damian Liilard, 8) Curry, 9) James Harden, 10) Nikola Jokic.
Do you agree with Steph’s ranking?
Green is the only other Warrior to crack ESPN’s rankings, coming in at No. 44, six spots lower than last season.
“The question hovering over Green is just how driven he will be during another potentially trying year for a Warriors team that lost Klay Thompson. Green was a steady presence for a young Warriors group early last year after they lost Stephen Curry, but his play fluctuated during a lost season. It will be up to Green to set the tone emotionally for Golden State.”
Draymond is the key to Golden State’s defense. He has never been the greatest offensive player, so it won’t be surprising to see his stats come down again, but where the Dubs need him is protecting their own basket.
Green is one of the smartest defensive players in the game and he will have to bring intensity and leadership to this year’s squad each time they take the floor. The 30-year-old looked tired during last year’s lost season, but he has had plenty of time to recharge the batteries for hopefully yet another season where we see him in contention to be named an All-Star.
On to some links:
Green and prized rookie James Wiseman missed the beginning of training camp after testing positive for the coronavirus. Now, it looks like neither will be available to play in any preseason games. (ESPN)
Andrew Wiggins is a wildcard going into the new season. Colin-Ward Henninger of CBS Sports says the former No. 1 pick is the key to Golden State’s championship aspirations.
The battle for the last few roster spots will be interesting. Kerr says Mychal Mulder is in a good position to make the Warriors 15-man roster. (Warriors Wire)