The Golden State Warriors are getting closer to their projected starting lineup playing together in an official game as both players who tested positive for coronavirus, Draymond Green and James Wiseman, both began to practice with the team this week.
Given how rough of a start the team is already off to losing their All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson for the entire season, the expectations outside the Warriors organization drastically lowered as they don’t stack up as well next to teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, Portland Trailblazers, and others.
However inside the Warriors organization players, and one in particular, feels this season isn’t successful without them holding hardware at the end of it.
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Draymond Green’s Expectations This Season
Being a vital part of a championship team can set the tone for a player’s career. For someone like Green who was arguably the backbone and the leading voice for the Warriors during their previous title runs, he and the other veterans are challenged with implementing a highly competitive mentality into the rest of his new teammates.
They’ll need it this season in a major way and it seems as if Green is already setting the tone not just in practice, but outside it too. Before the Warriors’ second preseason game against the Sacramento Kings, he spoke about what he wants to accomplish this year and what marks a successful season.
When I don’t win a title, that’s unsuccessful.
There’s no moral victories, there’s no ‘Oh, this is our first year together,’ or, you know, ‘We don’t have as many stars,’ or ‘Klay is…,’ I don’t really roll like that. You step on the floor, same 94 feet, two baskets and one basketball that everybody else got.
We’re all NBA players, so go out there, compete, try to win, try to compete at the highest level — as high as a level that you can personally compete to help this team win — that’s what it’s all about for me.
Draymond Green on how he's going to judge success for the Warriors this season:
"If we don't win a title, it's unsuccessful." pic.twitter.com/ILCLkZOMTr
— KNBR (@KNBR) December 14, 2020
Steph Curry’s Hot Night
While Green may be the voice that helps to push Golden State when they need it most, it will be two-time MVP Steph Curry who will lead them on the floor. Having missed a majority of the 2019-20 season due to breaking his hand, many want to see Curry light up the NBA and score in bunches to help this team replace Thompson’s scoring.
So far, he’s already off to a good start. In the Warriors’ latest preseason game against the Kings, Curry scored 29 points, which led all scorers, shooting 11-of-21, 5-13 from the three-point line, and adding in four assists, four blocks, and three steals.
The Warriors ultimately lost the pre-season contest on a buzzer-beater but Curry didn’t play at all in the final quarter. Games like these will need to be a regular occurrence for Curry and this team, if they hope to live up to the expectations Green has for this year. The best part is he isn’t alone as Curry shares a similar sentiment in the team being able to compete with anyone.
We know we can compete with anyone in the league. It’s kind of crazy. We know how great Klay is. Don’t get me wrong. But we hear the chatter. ‘It’s the end of for us. This year is a wash. What are we going to do in the future?’ But we are in the moment right now. It’s kind of refreshing being in that category as guys that are chasing. We know [the Los Angeles Lakers] are the defending champs. We got to beat them. We’re ready for it.