The Golden State Warriors will not be making their sixth straight NBA Finals. What was always going to be an off season for the West Coast dynasty was officially over just four games in as two-time MVP Stephen Curry broke his hand in a loss to the Phoenix Suns.
They’ve won 12 games, and 54-year-old head coach Steve Kerr would probably be better than half their active roster on any given night. They’re just plain bad.
Yet hope is not lost for the Warriors. With Curry and fellow All-Star Klay Thompson on the road to health, and thanks to some smart moves by management, the Warriors have set themselves up with a chance to be bathing in champagne again next June.
Curry and Thompson reforming the Warriors “Big Three” with Draymond Green would already make them borderline contenders in 2021. No one should need reminding how talented and dominant this trio is, individually and especially as a unit. But that’s not all the team will have going for it.
In a vacuum, Wiggins is not a better player than Russell right now. But he is already a better fit next to Thompson and Curry, and he has room to grow with the Warriors. He’s still young, only 24, and his skillset should fit right in with what the Warriors are missing.
Wiggins is a risk, but championship teams take risks. His skillset and ceiling could be key in a Warriors return to the Finals if he can maintain consistency. And he should be motivated to do just that. Within a season Wiggins could shift his narrative from “draft bust” to “NBA champion.”
Until now, I have assumed Wiggins stays with the team for the foreseeable future. This is not guaranteed. Things change fast in the NBA, and the Warriors front office is clearly not afraid to make moves.
Wiggins’ massive contract makes his value as a trade piece…questionable. But that could change if he continues to shine with the Warriors. A swap of Wiggins for Philadelphia Sixers’ star Ben Simmons has even been suggested.
Even if they stick with Wiggins, the Warriors have other assets, and with assets come options.
The Warriors front office has proven throughout its dynasty that it can and will make moves to put the team in the best place to contend. Heading into next year, they have the pieces to do it again.
When people talk about the Warriors dynasty, they always talk about the players: the three-sinking Splash Bros, Green the glue guy, KD the snake. But just as integral as the players are Steve Kerr and the system he has in place in the Bay Area.
The Warriors’ system has allowed the franchise to get key contributions to Finals runs from players like JaVale McGee and Patrick McCaw. Whoever else is on the roster next year, you can bet Curry and Kerr will be using them to their utmost.
KD is gone. He’s not coming back. But the Warriors can still be contenders.
Their Big 3 will be back, healthy, and ready to show everyone why even Giannis is glad they’re out this year.
They’ll be joined by Wiggins, who should fit right in and could finally rise to his potential. Using the array of assets the Warriors have at their disposal, the team can add more solid players as well.
Plug that all into Kerr and Curry’s system that has produced so well in the past, and the Warriors could be back in the Finals for the sixth time in seven years.
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