Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green were the superstars that provided the foundation for their success aided by Kevin Durant along the way.
But, the great Warriors dynasty appeared to be on the decline in the 2022/23 campaign. Curry and company had to battle to reach the post-season, edging their way over .500 to finish in the sixth seed to avoid the play-in tournament. Under the spotlight of the post-season, the Warriors displayed their experience and ability to play under pressure.
After going down 2-0 to the Sacramento Kings in the first round, they battled back to claim a 4-3 win to advance to the Western Conference Semi-Finals courtesy of a Curry 50-point special in game seven. But, old foe LeBron James proved to be too much for the Warriors to handle, suffering a 4-2 defeat at the hands of their great rival. It was moot anyway as the Lakers themselves were crushed by the Denver Nuggets, who in all likelihood would have been too strong for the Warriors to handle.
Golden State are now heading into an uncertain future with its aging stars. There are already reports suggesting that Thompson could be traded, while Green is not the dominant force he was on the court at the peak of his powers. Curry still has his special traits and the brilliance to perform under pressure, but he cannot be expected to carry the team as he did to their last crown in the 2021/22 season.
The addition of Chris Paul in a trade with the Washington Wizards continues to add age to the roster. He is still undoubtedly an effective player at the age of 38, but there are not a lot of younger players in the offing to replace the tiring legs.
The Warriors are still considered one of the leading contenders in the basketball odds to win the NBA Championship in the 2023/24 season. It shows that there is still a lot of belief in the Warriors dynasty, although it might be built on their history rather than the actual talent of the 2023/24 team.
After his two-year injury layoff, Thompson played well in the Warriors’ run in 2022 to knock off the Celtics in the NBA Finals. But, he struggled to find his best form after a long season in the playoffs, and at the age of 33, it’s not hard to see why the Warriors may try to recoup draft picks to secure ammunition to pursue an overhaul of their roster. The same could apply to Green, although he found a semblance of his best form last term. Curry has to remain on the roster as he can still operate at a high level, even though he’s past his peak form. Paul will ease some of the burden, although he is also past his best.
The disappointing aspect of the Warriors’ run has been their lack of youth development to support their superstar trio. Jordan Poole was afforded a lot of playing time last season, but he failed to justify his place on the roster and was allowed to leave the Warriors in the off-season as part of the move to bring Paul to Golden State.
Brandin Podziemski and Jonathan Kaminga will be hopeful of playing time, but it appears the Warriors are going to ride with their veterans, which could line them up for one last charge if everything falls perfectly into place. However, their aging stars could equally crumble amid the workload and tiring legs.