by Luke Shimer, staff writer
Coming off of the worst record in the NBA last season at 15-50, the Warriors are looking to come back with a big season. Many new faces have joined the Warriors, including the number two overall pick of the 2020 NBA draft, James Wiseman. Others such as Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins and Kent Bazemore hope to bring the Warriors back to the top and win another championship.
This string of bad luck continued with all-star shooting guard Klay Thompson when he tore his ACL and missed all of the 2019-2020 season. Unfortunately, luck was not on the Warriors’ side with Klay out for the 2020-2021 season as well due to his torn right achilles acquired during a practice on November 18th.
With Steph Curry surrounded by many new teammates this season, it comes with the question, “Will Curry have similar chemistry when it comes to team play that he has had in the past?” Many of these players have never played with each other, and coming off of many months of not playing in the bubble or in some cases not at all, they have to “shake off the rust” and learn to work and play together at a high level if they want to win. Since the start of the season, it has been clear that Curry will definitely have to play harder and score more than he has needed to in the past, when he was surrounded by fellow superstars such as Thompson and Kevin Durant. With Curry having to play more, he scored his career high of 62 points against the Portland Trailblazers and is averaging around 29 points per game.
Even with Curry’s hot start the Warriors had a bit of a shaky launch, losing by a combined 65 points in the first two games of the season. They have made up for this by beating two high level teams, the LA Clippers and the LA Lakers, in close matchups, with games won through 20-point Warrior comebacks. Their current record is 11-9 at this time, so they aren’t doing bad, but I think they can improve their record in the upcoming games because they shouldn’t be as much of a challenge as the first games. This next run won’t be as difficult because the teams coming up are not playoff contenders. Eleven wins is actually a great start for the Warriors considering they came into this season with the eighth hardest schedule in the NBA.
CBS Sports predicts the Warriors going 37-35 this season. They claim that Curry’s new “co-stars Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Draymond Green have shot a combined 32.6 percent on 3-point shooters in their careers, and they’re going to play most of their minutes alongside a true center.” Most minutes without Curry on the court have typically not gone so well, and with a new set of young stars, the question if they can step up as a bigger role on the team in order to succeed remains. CBS questions whether or not their defense will perform as well as it did in the past with Wiggins and Oubre not being as defensive as other players on the team. They also question if Draymond Green is still a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in his 30s and if Curry is still an MVP candidate at 32. With all due respect to CBS Sports, Curry is clearly still an MVP candidate, leading the league in points scored at 499 and averaging almost 30 points a game. Draymond, for his part, is still showing defensive prowess, though not as much as he has in the past. He is doing well playing around the new team and mentoring James Wiseman.
My prediction for the Warriors this season is 42-30. With Curry playing at a high level and the new stars rising on the team, I think that they have a chance to make the playoffs. The team is starting to come together with improved defense and Wiseman’s 25-point performance against the Timberwolves. With the eighth hardest schedule in the NBA this season, I believe it will be tough for them to get over 50 wins but, I consider 42 a reasonable number. If more improvements come through this year, and Klay Thompson comes back next year, I think that the Warriors will have a great 2021-’22 season. This season is just a season of rebuilding and improving in all categories.