Source: Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports
The Golden State Warriors this season look like the Warriors from the ’00s and not the 10’s. For 5 straight years, the Warriors have represented the Western Conference in the NBA finals. It's a feat that only the 50's Celtics have accomplished, however, it looks like their time in the sun is over.
In theory, the Warriors theory still has a good team, but injuries are plaguing them. Klay Thompson is out for the season and now the Warriors will be without Steph Curry for 3 months with a broken hand. This has resulted in a drastically different Warriors lineup.
The landscape of the Western Conference has shifted. The Clippers are now the big dog of the conference. With Kawhi and company running amuck, the Clippers look to be the team to beat in the West for the next few seasons. Lebron’s Lakers are a little off from the Clippers but now that he has the big man Anthony Davis, the Lakers are a real threat in the West.
Losing one of the best three players in the league was a game-changer without a doubt and has put the Warriors in an unfamiliar situation. Kevin Durant was that extra cushion that made the Warriors life so much easier. Sure they had more wins than the 96’ Bulls in the regular season and also brought a championship the Bay before KD came to town, but Durant the rest of the league was simply playing for 2nd place.
For the first time in quite a while, the Warriors’ streak of making the playoffs is in jeopardy. Steve Kerr will have to be a master in the art of load management if he wishes to preserve the likes of Green and Russell because he can't afford to lose either if playoffs are indeed the goal.
For now, Kerr now will have to rely on bench players to step up as starters. With the long-term absences of most of their starting lineup, it will be a tough task for Golden State to play decent basketball before Curry comes back. By then though they could be sitting at the bottom of the Conference. Hate to say it, but the Warriors could possibly be in tanking mode.
Golden State had a great run. A historic run. Three championships in 5 years is amazing. However, it appears the Raptors put the nail in the coffin for the Warriors dynasty. From here on out we should see them compete for a fringe playoff spot or a lottery pick, and I’m not particularly mad to say it, but the ride is officially over and done with.