The 2020 NBA Finals looked different from what basketball fans are used to —and no, I am not referring to the Bubble. For the first time in 6 years, we watched a Finals series that did not include the Golden State Warriors. Between 2015 and 2020, the Warriors won 5 Western Conference Championships and 3 NBA Championships, but this year, the team that dominated the competition only won 15 games and finished with the league’s worst record. The injury-riddled team lost key pieces and was plagued with the injury bug, but given how things have transpired, the Warriors could be on the hunt for another World Championship in the 2020-2021 season.
The most noticeable adjustment that the Warriors should make is to simply get healthy. Steph Curry played only 5 of the 65 games this season with a hand injury. However, Curry returned to the lineup in March, scoring 23 points in 27 minutes in his first game back. In the last game of the 2019 Finals, Klay Thompson suffered an ACL tear. But the start of next season would be a year and a half since his injury giving him ample time with his steady recovery. The injuries of Steph, Klay, and even Draymond Green, are always cause for long-term concern, but if the trio comes back approaching their peak power, they are immediate contenders.
Although things will be different without Kevin Durant and Andre Iguadala in the lockeroom, the tandem of Curry, Thompson, and Green will have a supporting cast that will help the Warriors get back to the biggest stage of the sport. In a blockbuster trade this year, the Warriors received Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins’s inefficient and inconsistent play in Minnesota earned him many critics, but the former #1 overall pick showed great improvement during his stint with the Warriors at the end of the season. The small forward averaged 21.8 ppg and had the most efficient season of his young career. Also, Wiggins’s shot selection, playmaking, and defense all looked to be trending in the right direction which will be a significant additions to this Warriors team. Wiggins will be free from the pressure of being recognized as the “next big superstar’ and will have a role he is more comfortable in. Along with Wiggins, the Warriors have the second overall pick in this year’s draft. The organization can either use this pick in a trade for another star player or they can draft a young player to help extend their championship window.
After a year without the Golden State Warriors at the top of the standings, the team has reloaded and is ready to make some noise in the NBA again. The Golden State Warriors will be a force to reckon with.