Why the Warriors will get their revenge

October 20, 2019 — by Kevin Sze

I almost cried when Golden State Warriors’ star shooting guard Klay Thompson tore his ACL in the third quarter of Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. 

Key word: almost. 

The Warriors were hit with a string of deflating injuries throughout the playoffs. In the Finals, star small forward Kevin Durant suffered a crushing Achilles injury in Game 4, center Kevon Looney fractured his collarbone in Game 2, forward Andre Iguodala was still nursing a mild hamstring injury and point guard Stephen Curry was still suffering from a finger injury.

The Warriors bench was shallower than a kiddie pool, and then in Game 6, Thompson, who had 28 points and was “popping off” as teenagers like to say, lay on the ground helplessly clutching his knee in agony. 

Thompson’s injury was the last straw. The Warriors now had to rely on Curry and forward Draymond Green alone to beat a talented Raptors team. In the end, it was too much to handle.

The Warriors ended up losing Game 6 on a heartbreakingly close 3-point attempt from Curry.

In the offseason, Durant headed to Brooklyn as a free agent, center Demarcus Cousins left for Los Angeles and every “expert” claimed the Warriors dynasty was finished. 

I’m here to tell you why the Golden State Warriors will be holding the Larry O’Brien trophy by the end of the 2019-2020 NBA season. 

First, free agency was kind to the Warriors. All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell arrived in Oakland in a sign and trade transaction for Durant. Center Willey Cauley Stein, guard Alec Burks and guard Glenn Robinson III arrived in the Bay shortly after. 

Second, the Warriors’ underdog mentality is back.

They’ve brought in new faces who are hungry to win a ring. In addition, Curry, Thompson and Green, the core of the team that went 73-9 in 2016, are back as underdogs for the first time since 2014. 

Admittedly, the Warriors will have to cope with the loss of Durant, who has established himself as one of the best isolation players in history. But statistics show that Durant wasn’t the best player for the Warriors as a team. That title belonged to Curry. 

According to Forbes, since the start of the 2016-2017 season, Golden State has been plus 1.3 points per 48 minutes with Durant on the floor and Curry off. It’s plus 12.1 points per 48 minutes with Curry on the floor and Durant off. Both sample sizes are well over 2,000 minutes and include both the regular season and the playoffs. 

With Durant gone, it gives the Warriors more room to move the ball. They don’t feel the obligation to feed him the ball repeatedly. 

I’m certain the team can make the playoffs with around 50 wins. In the playoffs, the biggest concerns lie in Los Angeles. The Lakers and the Clippers are early favorites to win it all in 2020. 

However, I’m putting experience ahead of talent in the playoffs. Curry, Green and Thompson have been to the Finals five times in a row. 

Lebron James has a similar experience, but Anthony Davis hasn’t gotten past the Western Conference Semifinals. Last time, he got swept by Curry and the Warriors in 2015. 

An aging James with an inexperienced Davis has talent but not as much potential as everyone thinks. 

The Clippers’ two stars are Paul George and reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. Leonard has been dubbed the second best player in the NBA behind the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo. 

But let’s be honest, he’s overhyped. Leonard beat a completely depleted Warriors team with the miraculously strong shooting of guards Fred Vanvleet and Kyle Lowry. Don’t get me wrong: He’s phenomenal but not as great as everyone believes.

George has the same problem as Davis. He isn’t experienced. 

Both teams have a very legitimate shot at beating the Warriors, but I believe the Warriors’ grit and championship experience will lead them to glory. 

It is a new chapter for the Warriors, with the new Chase Center Experience in San Francisco and a bunch of new faces on the roster. The old dynasty may be dead, but out of its ashes, another one will be born. The Warriors look like a team poised for a story for the ages.