Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Steve Kerr.
These four have been responsible for one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history and when all is said and done, we may be looking at the Golden State Warriors and saying that they are one of the best professional sports dynasties ever!
What the Warriors achieved this past year truly is remarkable when you think about where this organization was following their defeat to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals. Following this series, Kevin Durant left for Brooklyn, Klay Thompson faced a year-long recovery from his ACL tear and for once, Golden State looked vulnerable.
A lot of bad things injury-wise happened to the Warriors following the 2018-19 season and they ended up missing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons in 2020 and 2021, posting their second-worst season in franchise history during the 2019-20 season.
Making the playoffs alone and proving that they can still play at a high-level was a big achievement in itself for Golden State this past 2021-22 season and nobody truly believed that they could be champions once again until it was Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Steve Kerr finding themselves hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy into the air at TD Garden in Boston.
This championship truly does present a full circle for the Warriors going back to their first championship in 2015, but this organization truly believes that this is just the start of something better than they have been over the last several seasons.
The “reset” they went through during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons has enabled them to start building from the bottom up again while their superstars in Curry, Thompson and Green continue to play at the highest level possible, which is why this may not be a comeback for Golden State, it may very well be a resurgence.
Perhaps the greatest achievement for the Golden State Warriors would be once again finding success during the upcoming 2022-23 season and defending their title, something only one team has done in the last ten NBA Finals and that team is the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors enter the 2022-23 season as the team to beat in the NBA, yet they still have some work to do and some things to prove in order to defend their championship.
The idea of “running things back” did not pertain to the Golden State Warriors this offseason, as they had a handful of their secondary and bench talents depart in free agency. Gary Payton II, Damion Lee, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Nemanja Bjelica and Otto Porter Jr. all left the team this offseason, leaving some pretty big shoes to be filled.
Payton proved to be an elite-level defensive player out on the perimeter for the Warriors and he was instrumental in their championship run all year long. Porter’s ability to shoot from the perimeter and be another key rebounding talent next to the likes of Draymond Green and Kevon Looney in the paint also proved to be huge in the postseason.
Lee, Toscano-Anderson and Bjelica may not have held huge roles for this team, but each of these three guys were beloved in the locker room and all three guys brought a lot of energy to this team off-the-bench.
So how will the Warriors replace five notable players on their bench heading into the 2022-23 season?
For starters, Golden State signed veteran big man JaMychal Green to a minimum contract this offseason after he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder and subsequently waived. Plus, the team also signed former first-round pick Donte DiVincenzo using a chunk of their taxpayer mid-level exception.
These two experienced talents are going to prove to be big upgrades for the Warriors in a couple of different ways.
Golden State will still be searching for answers for someone to step up defensively in place of Gary Payton II, but Donte DiVincenzo is an agile and strong defender out on the perimeter that has been known to be a strong secondary scorer early on in his career.
Through his first four seasons in the NBA, DiVincenzo has averaged 9.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 41.5% from the floor and 34.7% from three-point range. He is very clearly an upgrade from Damion Lee, which is why DiVincenzo will immediately serve a “sixth-man-like” role for the Warriors.
As for JaMychal Green, he is not only an upgrade from Otto Porter Jr. given his physical defense in the paint and ability to shoot from the perimeter, but he is also an upgrade from Nemanja Bjelica and Juan Toscano-Anderson at the power-forward position.
What Green brings to the table for Golden State is more stability in the frontcourt, something they have not had for a while due to injuries. Draymond Green and Kevon Looney have really been the team’s only two big guys due to the fact that James Wiseman and others have been injured.
Adding more depth in the frontcourt was vital for the Warriors this offseason and the addition of JaMychal Green was a picture-perfect pick up for this team given his ability to play out on the perimeter and in the paint as a big man.
Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Ryan Rollins, the Warriors two rookies from the 2022 NBA Draft, may not hold that big of roles early on in their careers, but both players are talented scorers that add onto the young core of this team, which brings us to our next topic of discussion pertaining to the Warriors and their chances of repeating as champions.
Look, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green still run this team and are the faces of the Golden State Warriors, but we would not be talking about Golden State being the defending NBA champions if it wasn’t for some of their young players stepping up last season.
The jump Jordan Poole made from Year 2 to Year 3 in the NBA was tremendous and we cannot overshadow what Andrew Wiggins has done either. People were calling Wiggins a “bust” in Minnesota and since coming to the Warriors, all he has done is become a more well-rounded defender, a much better three-point shooting threat, he made his first All-Star Game as a starter and most importantly, he won a championship and was one of the main reasons this team won a championship.
Andrew Wiggins is the key to success for the Golden State Warriors and the fact that he is only 27-years-old gives this front-office a lot to smile about.
Heading into the 2022-23 season, Wiggins and Poole will once again hold key roles offensively for this team and with Gary Payton II now in Portland, Andrew Wiggins' importance on the defensive-end of the floor has increased even more.
Looking at the rest of this young core in Golden State, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and James Wiseman are a big reason why this team remains a championship contender and why the Warriors possess some of the best long-term potential out of any other team in the NBA right now.
Wiseman is finally healthy for once and in Summer League this past July, he looked ready for the start of the new season. There will be a learning curve for him since he is still only 21-years-old and has only played in 39 games, but Wiseman gives the Warriors even more frontcourt depth and more importantly, an athletic lob-threat offensively that can possibly be an elite-level rim-protector defensively.
Jonathan Kuminga is a very athletic, versatile forward that truly is a positionless player for the Warriors. He can handle the ball pretty well out on the wing and defensively, Kuminga possesses the length and athleticism to be a real difference maker and possibly an All-Defensive talent as he continues to grow in the game of basketball.
Lastly, Moses Moody has already shown flashes of his scoring potential in NBA games last season and in Summer League this year, he only played in two games, but led all players in scoring at 27.5 points per game on 43.8% shooting from the floor.
A capable ball-handler that is much better in catch-and-shoot scenarios, Moody is going to be on the receiving end of a ton of passes from Curry and Poole this upcoming season. Should he continue to grow as a three-point shooter, it will be very difficult for teams to stop him, Thompson, Curry and Poole out on the perimeter, especially if Wiseman proves to be a scoring threat in the low-post as well.
There is just so much talent and potential in this Warriors young core and nobody should be shocked to see Wiseman, Kuminga and Moody take major leaps forward in their young careers during the 2022-23 season, especially since they will each see key minutes off-the-bench early on.
At the end of the day, health means everything to the Golden State Warriors’ chances of repeating as champions, but their frontcourt health stands above all.
James Wiseman coming back from injury and JaMychal Green joining the frontcourt obviously gives the Warriors more big man depth, but what cannot happen is for Draymond Green to miss a large chunk of time like he did this past regular season and then someone else like James Wiseman, JaMychal Green or Kevon Looney to miss time.
The Warriors are a small team as it is and if their frontcourt is consistently on the injury report, they will have a lot of trouble playing against some of the taller, lengthier teams in the Western Conference.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of the tallest teams in the NBA, the Memphis Grizzlies ranked first in points in the paint, the Phoenix Suns ranked fourth in points in the paint and we cannot forget about the Denver Nuggets with back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic!
There is so much talent that attacks the paint in the Western Conference right now, which is why the Warriors are going to need their length in order to compete during the regular season.
Ultimately, being healthy for the postseason is all that matters, as we saw this year, but claiming one of the top seeds in the conference is going to be vital for the Warriors, especially since they are one of the better teams in the league when playing on their home court.
Overall health matters greatly if the Warriors are to repeat as champions, but at the end of the day, the questions for this team lie in their frontcourt. If James Wiseman, Kevon Looney, JaMychal Green and Draymond Green can stay healthy and they can all play their roles to perfection, this team will have a very good shot to defend their championship.
Brett Siegel joined Fastbreak on FanNation as a credentialed NBA journalist in April 2022 after previously covering the NBA for NBA Analysis Network and working with Louisville Basketball, aiding in daily operations, scouting and recruiting. From playing to coaching to covering the game as a media member, Brett has been involved with the game of basketball from many different perspectives. Breaking the news of All-Star Andre Drummond signing with the Lakers in 2021, yearly NBA Draft news and other key stories around the league, Brett is always on the phone, getting the latest news and rumors around the NBA. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @BrettSiegelNBA.
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Steve Kerr.