The Golden State Warriors went to five straight NBA Finals from 2015 to 2019, and though injury issues derailed their 2019-20 campaign, they project to be right back in the thick of things next season thanks to the returns of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Thompson missed the entirety of the 2019-2020 season after suffering a torn ACL in the 2019 Finals, and Curry played in just five games after breaking his hand at the beginning of the season.
With those two back in the rotation, Golden State immediately catapults back into the contention conversation. When discussing what his team will look like next season, Warriors coach Steve Kerr took a jab at the rival Rockets’ recent style of play.
“We’re not reinventing the wheel. We’re still gonna be the Warriors,” Kerr said on an appearance on The Athletic’s TK Show, via Yahoo. “We’re not gonna all of a sudden turn into the Rockets — change our offense — and have one guy go high pick-and-roll 70 times a game.”
With the Warriors, Kerr preaches ample ball — and player — movement, so the isolation-heavy style of play employed by the Rockets over the past several seasons under Mike D’Antoni was the anthesis of Kerr’s preferred approach to offense. After Houston was eliminated in five games by the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals the Rockets parted ways with D’Antoni, so it remains to be seen if they will continue to play that same isolation-based style of play moving forward.
While we shouldn’t expect the Warriors turn into a Rockets replica, we can expect the team to look a lot like it did during their half-decade of dominance in the Western Conference, before the injuries knocked them off track.
“We gotta be ourselves,” Kerr added. “What makes Steph (Curry) and Klay (Thompson) the players they are is the combination of what they can on and off the ball. That’s what moves defenses.
“And what makes Draymond (Green) special is his ability to distribute from either the four or the five spot — to have playmaking at that level. As you watch (the) Miami (Heat) right now, you can see the influence that our team has had on the league… It’s really difficult for defenses to guard when there’s a lot of action going on. So we’re not gonna change that stuff.”
With Curry, Thompson, and Green, the Warriors still have their core in place. However, they need to surround those three All-Stars with a solid supporting cast if they want to make another deep postseason run. Building that supporting cast is the top task facing Golden State’s front office over the offseason. The way Kerr sees it, the Warriors roster is likely going to look a lot different on opening night than it does right now.
“We’ve lost a lot of bounce and a lot of pop on the wings — even at the center position. (So) right now, we’re not big enough or athletic enough to get where we want to be,” Kerr said. “But we all know that… We have the draft and we have free agency to address all that stuff. And potential trades. I think (general manager) Bob (Myers) would be the first to tell you this roster is far from being finished.”
If Golden State’s front office has proven anything over the past several years, its proven capable of building a championship-caliber roster. If this trend continues, the Warriors should be in line for a major bounce back next season.