The upcoming 2020 – 2021 NBA season was supposed to be one of the ages of the Golden State Warriors. Last season, they, unfortunately, were only able to win 15 games due to their stars Klay Thompson and Steph Curry being out for all of, and majority in Curry’s case, due to injury. Going into this season, the duo were primed to reunite with star forward Draymond Green to reclaim their handle on the NBA’s western conference.
Yet, Thompson suffered another injury, a torn right Achilles, just hours before the NBA’s 2020 Draft was set to begin and this one will also have him miss the entire season once again. It’s an unfortunate reality the Warriors will have to deal with but having their 2x MVP back, Curry, as well as former Defensive Player of the Year, Green, with a mix of players, Andrew Wiggins, new trade acquisition Kelly Oubre Jr., and the newly drafted James Wiseman, the team should be able to be more competitive than not.
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However, some don’t believe that will be the case this season. Undisputed co-host and NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe thinks Curry is going to be “under immense pressure” to uphold the team and that it may be more than he can handle at this point in his career.
“There is a lot of pressure on him because now KD, KD is gone, long gone. No Klay. What we’ve seen is other top guys, we saw Russ [Westbrook] take a team and get them to the playoffs in the western conference, we’ve seen James Harden do it skip, get a team to the playoffs in the western conference. The western conference is loaded. And many believe Steph is a top-5 player, so he’s got his work cut out for him.
Can Curry Stay Healthy Enough?
A lot of this is riding on the back of Curry. His MVP seasons were back when all 3 stars for Golden State were healthy and playing at a level the NBA hadn’t seen before.
In order for this team to be good enough to compete within the stacked western conference, Curry will have to return to not just his previous MVP winning form but maybe even reach back to his years at Davidson. While there, he was the only player on his team to average more than 14 points per game throughout his freshman year (21.5 ppg), sophomore year (25.9 ppg), and junior year (28.6 ppg).
He is in the NBA now where his teammates are much better than his collegiate years but Green, Wiggins, Oubre Jr., and Wiseman are either growing or unproven on the offensive side of the ball when needing to be consistent. They will all have to step up to help lessen the burden of Curry and Sharpe is unsure if that’s going to be the case.
They went out and got Kelly Oubre [Jr.], now that goes to show you they’re willing to spend any amount of money cause the $14 million in salary they’re going to pay him cost them $80 million in luxury tax…There’s a lot that Steph is going to have to do and he’s going to have to be Steph, the old chef Steph. He’s going to have to cook on a nightly basis. Now you have to remember Skip, Steph has not played a full season since 2016-2017, that’s four seasons ago. He only played five games last year. And unless you’re Benjamin Button or LeBron James you’re not aging backwards. So he’s under immense pressure to get this team into the playoffs even if there is no Klay.”
Curry’s Mindset This Season
Even if others waiver in their optimism for the Warriors this season Curry has not. He believed pre-Thompson injury and still believes, that this team can be very good. Having Green and himself, two veterans who know what it takes to be great will be a huge bonus as they set the tempo for their teammates.
“It’s weird because all the things you just said, I got overwhelmed just hearing you talk about. We’re about to start training camp this week and gearing up for the 22nd to start our season. So, there’s a lot of unknowns. There’s a lot of anxieties around just getting back to playing competitive basketball because we’ve been out since March. We know from watching the bubble that there’s a lot of amazing teams out there that have taken strides to be contenders and you see what LA has done as champions. So, we know the work that’s cut out for us. But our culture remains the same, you know, me and Draymond as the elder statesmen we’ll call it. We’ve been around and we know what it takes to win championships, so we’re excited for the challenge.
“All the noise that’s around us in terms of the different cast of characters and the new guys, we’re going to take that and run with it and do it what we’re going to do. It’s going to be exciting. I just want to play competitive basketball. It’s been too long sitting on the sidelines.”