The Warriors dynasty is over! Just kidding it's probably not.
Losing an All-World player like Kevin Durant would be a devastating blow to pretty much a team, but the Warriors continue to chug along. They still have one of the best GM’s in the league in Bob Myers, they still have one of the best coaches in the league in Steve Kerr, and they still have an owner who is committed to seeing his team win.
Let's start with the Durant departure. Golden State did a tremendous job of working to make sure they didn't lose the superstar for nothing. Instead of letting him simply walk away, they pulled off a complex sign-and-trade that netted them rising All-Star D’Angelo Russell from Brooklyn.
Russell is an interesting fit with the Warriors. With Klay Thompson out for at least the first part of the season with a torn ACL, I would assume the team will play Steph Curry off the ball, allowing Russell to play the point. The reason for this is Steph is a much more competent player without the ball than Russell is. When Klay comes back at full health, that's when it’ll get interesting. Can they all play together? Will the Warriors simply trade Russell when Klay returns? Who knows, but if anyone can make it work on the floor, Kerr would be the guy.
Not to be lost in the shuffle, the team also had to sacrifice Andre Iguodola to bring in Russell, who was a glue guy for this team the past few years. The Warriors also made a series of less prolific moves that helped to rebuild the roster from the mass exodus that took place this summer. Golden State signed Willie Cauley-Stein to replace the departing Boogie Cousins, and they also re-signed Kevon Looney, who was the starter for most of last season while Cousins rehabbed. They also brought in Alec Burks to replace the retired Shaun Livingston. And finally, the team jettisoned Jordan Bell, who showed promise as a rookie but quickly became a headache last season.
The Warriors had an interesting draft. First, they reached on Michigan guard Jordan Poole at pick 28, who was a surprising entry into this year’s draft. Poole wasn't projected to be a first round pick, but he's a great three point shooter, which we know this team values highly. The biggest knock on him was consistency, which he will need to improve upon if he wants to crack the everyday rotation.
At number 39 the team chose forward Alen Smailagic, who is an intriguing international big who won't contribute at the NBA level in 2020. Then at number 41, they selected Villanova forward Eric Paschall, a bigger player who can also shoot the three, the exact type of player the Warriors covet.
Overall, there is some upside in this draft class, but Golden State took some risks when they aren't really in a position to do so.
Offseason Grade: C | Predicted Western Conference Ranking: 6
For the first time in four or five years, the Warriors are not the odds-on favorite to win the NBA title. While that feels nice to type, they will still be a force in the Western Conference. Losing Durant is devastating, but adding D’Angelo Russell was an incredibly shrewd move by Bob Myers and re-signing Klay Thompson was key.
This team is very top-heavy with guys like Russell, Thompson, Curry and Draymond Green, but they still very well might end up representing the Western Conference in the NBA Finals. They just have too much pedigree to be counted out.
Graduate of Loyola Maryland and die hard Boston sports fan. "I rub it in pretty good when I win" - Tom Brady