Season Preview

Hype is Real: Warriors have enough to repeat

Published October 15, 2022, 10:00 AMMiguel Flores
Miguel Flores

With an intact core, the Golden State Warriors are capable of overcoming any drama and repeating for a title.

Overview of the last season

In between Steph Curry's record-breaking performances, the Golden State Warriors found the time to win games. They won the championship, after all.

With Curry powering their offense, the Warriors leaned on their defensive versatility to grind out wins. They finished second in defensive rating, despite having some key players come in and out of the lineup. They used their solid regular-season record to keep guys healthy and work Klay Thompson back into shape.

When the playoffs came, no team could match the offensive and defensive latitude of the Warriors. Guys like Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, Otto Porter Jr., and Gary Payton III had some big moments playing their roles.

Ultimately, it was Steph Curry’s brilliance that proved insurmountable. He dropped 31.2 ppg in the finals against Boston, hitting more than five 3s a game in the six-game series. Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala won their fourth ring. Life was good.

What’s new this season?

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you might have missed some big Warriors news. First, news of Green “striking” Poole surfaced in the media. Then, the video leaked. As it turned out, Green escalated the situation and punched Poole square in the face.

The leak happened as the Warriors were trying to do damage control in the media. Since the video, the Warriors have shifted their tone. Green made a public apology, announcing that he would be taking an indefinite leave from the team.

As with most fickle situations in Green’s career, there were more mature, level-headed ways to handle this situation. But Green, like he had numerous times in the past, let his emotions get the best of him. He cost the Warriors a title in 2016 when he got suspended in the finals for striking LeBron James. He cost the Warriors Kevin Durant when he ran his mouth on their former superstar during a regular season game.

It remains to be seen what price the Warriors will pay this time. Poole is up for an extension and the Golden State front office and coaching staff have been vocal about their intention to keep him around. Does that mean it’s time to let go of Green, who is also up for an extension? While his antics have certainly directly torpedoed the Warriors on several occasions, Green’s tenacity also adds a layer of intensity Golden State has leaned on to win titles. What do they look like without one of their best defenders and passers?

Other than that, the Warriors have needed to rebuild their bench – an underrated part of their title run. Gone are Otto Porter Jr., Gary Payton III, Juan Toscano-Anderson, and Nemanja Bjelica. All of these guys contributed either in the playoffs or the regular season when the Warriors used their bench more often.

Golden State did sign Donte DiVincenzo and Ty Jerome but the bench minutes will probably go to the Warriors’ young core. Aside from their superstars, the Warriors have a trio of lottery picks in James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, and Moses Moody in their back pocket. We should see more from them, especially from Wiseman who is finally healthy.

THE guy

Where does Steph Curry rank in the all-time pantheon of greats? With how he has affected the game, his four championships, and the records he’s set, it shouldn’t be a stretch to say he’s up there with Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

Last season was about reaching milestones for Curry. He started on fire, took his place atop the all-time 3-pointers made list in December, then cooled off for the rest of the season. He still averaged 25.5 ppg on 55.4 percent eFG, with 5.2 rpg, 6.3 apg, and 1.3 spg. Then pumped those numbers up in the playoffs.

Entering his age 34 season, Curry still looks like he’s in top shape. Depending on how the young guys shape out and how long Green and Thompson are out to start the season, Curry could end up being asked to do a lot to keep the Warriors afloat. He’s most likely up for it. 

Sneaky fun guy

He has an unfortunate nickname, but Jonathan Kuminga deserves the hype. The Curry-era Warriors have never had quite the player Kuminga is – a massive athlete that can jump out of the gym. The G-League Ignite product has always profiled like a future All-Star.

Going to Golden State might have been the best situation for his career. He’s had to wait his turn on the Warriors after being picked seventh overall in the 2021 Draft. The Warriors have brought him along slowly, allowing him to develop all the good habits needed in a winning player. Had he gone to a losing situation, Kuminga might have been asked to do more, making mistakes become habits.

With the Warriors losing several wings, Kuminga’s going to get more looks. If he even flashes some of the two-way brilliance scouts expected from him, the Warriors could have an interesting weapon on the bench.

Vibe check

If there’s any team that can weather drama, it’s the Warriors. Curry is the most low-maintenance superstar ever. Steve Kerr has the temperament of a sage. This team doesn’t get easily swallowed by theatrics – whether internal or external.

It's definitely not as rosy as past Warriors teams with so many key players looking for extensions. Money talk has torn down several great teams of the past. The Warriors have so far been able to absorb the financial burden. Are they willing to pay more than half a billion dollars in luxury tax to keep this show going?

For now, the Warriors still look like the top contenders in the West. They’re going to be worth a watch, whether it be for Steph or drama updates.