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What are the best and worst case scenarios for the Warriors this season?

Will the Warriors repeat as champions or crash and burn?

Stephen Curry carrying the NBA Finals trophy and NBA Finals MVP trophy on the bus at the Warriors championship parade Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Another Golden State Warriors season is upon us and with it another quest for an NBA championship. If the Warriors win one they’d have five in the last nine years, and would add to their argument as one of the most dominant dynasties in NBA history.

Personally, I’m rooting for that.

But is it feasible? Is it likely? And more importantly, will it happen?

Only one way to find out. In the meantime, here are the best and worst case scenarios for the Dubs.

Last season’s record: 53-29

Last season’s conference ranking: 3rd in the Western Conference

Last season’s offensive rating: 113.3 (17th)

Last season’s defensive rating: 107.7 (1st)

Roster additions: Donte DiVincenzo, JaMychal Green, Ryan Rollins, Patrick Baldwin Jr. whomever they sign to their two-way spots, James Wiseman’s health

Roster losses: Nemanja Bjelica, Chris Chiozza, Damion Lee, Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr., Juan Toscano-Anderson, Quinndary Weatherspoon

What’s the ‘Best Case’ scenario?

Does this question really need to be answered? We saw it last year. The best case scenario is the same as it’s been for the better part of the last decade. It involves hoisting a trophy in June, and smirking while raising a banner in front of a teary-eyed rival next October.

There are a lot of ways that could happen. It could be a repeat of last year, when Andrew Wiggins was named an All-Star, Jordan Poole emerged as a star, Draymond Green returned to “best defensive player in the world” status, Klay Thompson got back on the court, Steph Curry reminded everyone that he’s arguably the best player alive, Kevon Looney was invincible, and the bench did serious work.

But in all likelihood, another run to the top of the mountain would look at least a little bit different. Perhaps Poole takes another leap from budding star to franchise player. Maybe Wiggins builds on his career year. Thompson returning to his All-Star status, rather than the version we saw at the end of last year, is something that we should arguably be expecting. James Wiseman might emerge as a dominant pick-and-roll threat to give the Warriors a second look. One of Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga may take a second-year leap. Hell, perhaps Green even remembers how to shoot.

What’s the ‘Worst Case’ scenario for your team this season?

Unfortunately, this question doesn’t need to be answered either because, unfortunately, we’ve seen that one recently, too. We’re only a few years removed from Thompson missing a whole year, Curry playing only five games, and Green playing half a season in which he – by his own admission – mailed it in. And the result was disgusting.

There might be regressions this year – Wiggins’ 2021-22 may prove to be an outlier, Green’s defense might finally falter, and Thompson may not regain form – but it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which everyone plays and it just doesn’t work. Even if you assume some regression, a healthy Warriors team is a title contender. But Curry will turn 35 this year and has a spotty injury history. Green will turn 33 this year and has a spotty injury history. Thompson will turn 33 this year and has already suffered the two worst injuries in basketball.

A worst case scenario involves those guys getting hurt again. Which maybe means drafting Victor Wembanyama, which sets up one helluva best case scenario for 2023-24.

What’s the ‘Most Likely’ scenario for your team this season?

Pretty much exactly what we saw last year. A team that, in the regular season, bounces between dominance, boredom, and injury or rest-fueled slumping. A team that doesn’t compete for the top record in the conference because they have bigger fish to fry. A team that enters the postseason with as good a chance as any to win it all, in their pursuit to make Curry, Green, Thompson, and Andre Iguodala just the second foursome in NBA history to collect five rings together.

What are you most excited for going into this season?

I really want to say the growth of the young players. Moody has looked fantastic in the preseason, and Steve Kerr has put a lot of public faith in Kuminga. Wiseman is one of the most must-watch players in the entire NBA, because we don’t know if he’ll become a dominant scorer or a liability whose contract the Warriors will look to shed next offseason. And rookies Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Ryan Rollins are already turning heads.

But in reality I’m most excited to watch the core once again. Perhaps for the final time.

The playoffs were special last year not just because the Warriors won a championship, but because we finally saw the Hall of Fame trio of Curry, Thompson, and Green back together. They didn’t play a single minute together in 2019-20. They didn’t play a single minute together in 2020-21. They played just 11 minutes together during the 2021-22 regular season.

These three have been a staple of our sports fandom for the last decade, but we haven’t seen them play together consistently in three and a half years. And with Green’s recent situation, in which he punched Poole, plus his impending free agency (and the Warriors untenable financial situation), there are reasons to think this is the last hurrah.

Make no mistake: this is the best era of Warriors basketball you’ll ever witness, and the best long-term trio of Dubs you’ll ever see. If this is the final year of it, I’ll be heartbroken … but excited to watch every single minute.

Predicted record: 55-27

Predicted conference standing: 3rd in the West (and conference champions [and NBA champions])

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