Warriors

Andre Iguodala believes Warriors will 'have another run' at NBA title

Andre Iguodala believes Warriors will 'have another run' at NBA title

We're not sure if you heard the news, but the Lakers now are seen as the favorites to win the NBA Finals next season after pulling off a trade for Anthony Davis. 

With the Warriors nursing their wounds from a grueling Finals loss to the Raptors that saw both Klay Thompson (torn ACL) and Kevin Durant (ruptured Achilles) go down with severe injuries, the rest of the Western Conference is ready to pounce. 

The Lakers are the sexy team at the moment, but Andre Iguodala wasn't shocked by the blockbuster deal. 

"I expected them to make a lot of moves," Iguodala said Friday on ESPN's "First Take." "Rob Pelinka, my old agent, I knew he would use that brain of his, that Michigan brain. And then, you got LeBron, he's in the later stages of his career. He wants to win now."

The pairing of James and Davis will be a formidable one, but Iguodala isn't ready to dump dirt on the Dubs just yet, especially since he expects Thompson to come back even better than before his knee injury. 

"It's going to be interesting," Iguodala said. "With LeBron, they gave us some troubles last year, and they really took it to us with that core. I thought Luke Walton did a really good job, I got to say that. I thought he did a really good job his entire tenure there ... But with the Lakers, with LeBron, you got a chance at a championship.

"You got to respect what he's done throughout his whole career. Talk about living up to expectations and exceeding expectations from a high school kid. That's just an amazing achievement in itself. He was deemed the second-greatest basketball player of all time in high school. How many of those guys fizzle out?

"But I'm confident in us. Klay will be back in February I hope. He's a fast healer. We're going to have another run at it. It's not over."

The Warriors will have an uphill battle next season, especially until Thompson returns from his torn ACL. (This also assumes that Thompson will re-sign with the Dubs, which appears to be a near-lock.)

As the Finals loss to the Raptors showed, the Dubs are in need of shooting and wing depth in order to put an effective supporting cast around Steph Curry. They drafted Michigan guard Jordan Poole in the first round on Thursday, but will need to find some more complimentary pieces in order to make it through the grueling West without Thompson.

[RELATED: 2019 draft class will referendum on Dubs' front office]

James and Davis will look to capitalize on the Warriors' misfortune, but the Lakers have their own issues to deal with.

Don't write the eulogy on the five-time defending Western Conference champions just yet.

Steph Curry relives time in 2014 when he made 3-pointer in Kobe's face

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AP

Steph Curry relives time in 2014 when he made 3-pointer in Kobe's face

DubNation, let's think back to a time before Steph Curry was an MVP and before the Warriors had won three NBA titles in five seasons.

Think back to Oct. 12, 2014.

The Warriors were playing the Los Angeles Lakers in a preseason game at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif.

Curry hadn't fully established himself as an all-time great. Kobe Bryant was in the twilight of his career having returned from a torn Achilles tendon.

In the third quarter, with the Warriors holding a commanding league in the exhibition game, Bryant picked Curry up full-court two possessions in a row in an attempt to bother the undersized point guard.

The second time it happened, Curry created space and nailed a step-back 3-pointer over Bryant.

In a recent interview with House of Highlight's founder Omar Raja, Curry described his mindset on that play.

"This is him, I think the year after his Achilles [tear] and he's trying to get his competitive fire back because he missed so much time. He started to pick me up full court two possessions in a row, so this is the second possession. So I took the challenge obviously. They let him foul and they didn't call that so I kinda had to work with that.

"But I came down the court and he was trying to steal it, trying to be physical. I got him with a little half step to get a little bit of space and then just pulled it from deep and obviously it went in and then his smile afterward, the little ass tap.

"I tried not to have a reaction there because I was in the moment. But afterward, I was like 'Damn, that's pretty cool' because Kobe doesn't show that type of emotion."

[RELATED: How playing with KD helped Steph]

Little did Bryant, the Lakers and the rest of the NBA know what was about to happen. The Warriors went on to win 67 games that season and reached the NBA Finals for the first time in 40 years. Curry would be named NBA MVP and lead the Warriors past the Cleveland Cavaliers to win his first NBA title.

Why Steph Curry believes playing with Kevin Durant 'cemented' him

Why Steph Curry believes playing with Kevin Durant 'cemented' him

Like a comet, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant's time together burned bright and fast.

The two all-time greats led the Warriors to three straight NBA Finals appearances after Durant arrived in the Bay in 2016. They won two titles and likely would have won a third had the Warriors not been hit by a glut of injuries, including the ruptured Achilles Durant suffered in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. 

Then, it was over.

Durant elected to sign with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency, and Curry now is tasked with shouldering a heavy load entering next season when the two-time NBA MVP will be asked to do it all to keep the Warriors afloat in the revamped Western Conference.

Despite their relatively short time as running mates, Curry is appreciative of what playing with Durant did for him, especially on a personal level. 

“It cemented me,” Curry told The Athletic's Marcus Thompson at the American Century Golf Championship celebrity tournament. “Cemented my personality, how I see the world and what makes me go amidst the heights of where we were at for the last three years. Not a lot of people experience what we experienced in terms of criticism, attention, the intensity of basketball, the level we were playing at. It further cemented the foundation of kind of who I am. I see there are a lot of different ways to do it, and you respect everybody’s different approach and mindset and angle and what makes them go, what motivates them. But I’m really comfortable with mine.”

By all accounts, Curry did everything he could to make Durant feel like a co-star during his time in the Bay Area. Whether or not Durant ever felt accepted, only he can answer that.

[RELATED: Steph explains why he flew to New York to meet KD]

The Steph-KD Warriors will go down as one of, if not the greatest collection of talent in NBA history. They set records, won titles and did it with a flare and swagger reserved only for those at the peak of their powers.

Durant now will rehab with an eye toward returning to the court for the 2020-21 season, while Curry and the Warriors will be out to prove their championship days didn't leave with Durant.