Warriors

How Warriors can get back to glory despite NBA Finals loss, injuries

How Warriors can get back to glory despite NBA Finals loss, injuries

For Dub Nation, it was surreal and heartbreaking to wake up this morning with the Warriors as non-champions for the first time in just over two years.  

Losing two future Hall of Famers to cataclysmic injuries in back-to-back Finals games was the equivalent of a meteor striking the basketball world twice in one week. (Except these meteors helped the dinosaurs.)  

But despair not, Warriors fans – there exists a potential path back to glory.  Here’s an eight-point plan for world domination.

1. Re-sign Kevin Durant for five years and $221M

OK, we know this has been considered unlikely, but it became more plausible after the Achilles tear that will likely force him to miss all of the 2019-20 season. The Warriors can offer KD $57 million more (including one extra year) than anyone else, and that may have suddenly become more attractive to him in light of an injury that will remove a year of his prime and could shorten his career on the back end.

2. Re-sign Klay Thompson for five years and $191M

This seemed highly likely already and feels like a lock after the ACL tear that could cost him all of 2019-20. Klay's father, Mychal, reportedly said Friday there's "no question" that his son will re-sign with Golden State. Klay loves it here, the management and fans love him, and he is a legendary shooter and healer whose game figures to age well despite the injury.

3. Both sit out next season entirely

4. The Warriors spend the 2019-20 season tanking

Now, that will be painful for the two all-world players they’ll still have active, Steph Curry and Draymond Green, two of the most talented and competitive athletes on the planet. But each could use a year to rest and recharge after playing more than a full season’s worth of postseason games over the past five years.

In the name of “load management,” the Warriors could withhold them from back-to-backs as the Raptors did this year with Kawhi Leonard, and leave the rest of the roster to marginal bench talent and prospects.  This would likely serve to miss the playoffs entirely, while also offering an opportunity to evaluate the long-term ceiling of young players like Damian Jones, Jacob Evans and next week's draft picks.

(Spoiler alert: this is not a new idea. It is similar to the blueprint used by the San Antonio Spurs to establish their dynasty. Thanks to key injuries, the talented Spurs plummeted all the way from 59 wins in 1995-96 to 20 in 1996-97. Their consolation prize was Tim Duncan, and two seasons later, they won the first of five NBA titles).

This strategy may not prove popular with fans who have shelled out big bucks for personal seat licenses and tickets in San Francisco and weren’t expecting to watch the Santa Cruz Warriors. But at least for one honeymoon year in the new arena, it is a captive audience, and on balance, fans should understand one year of pain for long-term gain.

5. Use the resulting lottery pick to obtain the next Warriors star

And hey, it doesn’t have to be with the first or second pick. The Warriors selected all-time greats Curry, Thompson and Green with the 7th, 11th and 35th picks in the draft, respectively. Kawhi was the 15th overall pick in 2011. This is about player evaluation, not ping-pong balls.

6. Keep the band together by re-signing Draymond Green in 2020

Draymond is the heart, soul and defensive engine of the team. Joe Lacob said back in May he hopes Draymond is a Warrior forever. Let's make that happen.

7. Come back healthy in the fall of 2020

With KD and Klay back, Steph and Draymond rejuvenated and a transcendent young talent (or two) in the fold, the Dubs will have countless motivation. Steph and KD will be 32 years old, Klay and Draymond will be 30 – still plenty of great basketball left.

8. CRUSH EVERYTHING IN YOUR PATH FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL YEARS!

This plan would weigh very heavily on Joe Lacob and friends' wallets. Given how far it would extend the Warriors into salary cap repeater taxes, it could saddle them with the largest payroll in sports history, well north of $300 million.

But hey, that’s what the new Chase Center is for, right? If you want to be Light Years Ahead, you have to pay the freight.

Let’s choose to dream.

Warriors' Steph Curry urges voting in Presidential primary elections

Warriors' Steph Curry urges voting in Presidential primary elections

Steph Curry will not be silenced. 

While the NBA season has been paused due to the coronavirus pandemic, Curry has made his voice heard regarding social and racial injustices as well as police brutality after George Floyd, an African American man, died in Minneapolis in the hands of police custody.

On Tuesday, Curry joined the #BlackOutTuesday protest on social media and also urged people to vote in states that have Presidential primary elections Tuesday as well. 

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Seven states -- Indiana, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Dakota -- and Washington, DC are holding Presidential primary elections on Tuesday.

Curry recently joined "The Life Podcast" with Anthony Morrow and Justin Jack to speak on systemic racism.

"It's just crazy, how many examples do you need?" Curry said. "This one, I actually found out from [Stephen Jackson]. He's been posting like crazy trying to make sure his partner is memorialized the right way and they remember his name and he's taken that on his back. It's crazy to think in my Instagram feed, I don't post that much, but like, I couldn't even get through eight different posts from Ahmaud Arbery to George Floyd.

"And that, in and of itself, it's sad to your point. One, we know there's police brutality, we know there's systemic racism, all these issues that we're all trying to address. As the black community, the thing that we are doing is trying to use our voice, our platforms, everybody is activating in the streets and the communities trying to do the work and everyone is playing their part.

"But until people outside of our community speak up, use their platform, get uncomfortable and actually feel some type of emotional change to the issues then we are just going to be in the same situation. That, to me, is the thing I've been watching on social media, if we can actually get some solutions. To raise your voice and get mad and get angry and you hate doing it over and over again, but we got to figure out some solutions to this problem and they got to be accountable to it."

Curry, along with Warriors coach Steve Kerr, only are part of a large group of athletes standing up, speaking out and protesting right now.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Why Warriors' Ron Adams believes 'sky is limit' for Andrew Wiggins

Why Warriors' Ron Adams believes 'sky is limit' for Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins has always been full of potential, he just couldn't realize it in Minnesota while playing for a Timberwolves team that ranged from awful to dysfunctional.

Now a Warrior, Wiggins will have a great opportunity to improve his game and become the player many expected him to be when he was drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. When the Warriors acquired Wiggins in the D'Angelo Russell deal at the trade deadline, many saw Wiggins and his contract as trade bait to acquire another star to pair with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

But others saw Wiggins' skill and potential, envisioning him as a centerpiece of the Warriors' dynastic reboot. Bench coach Ron Adams certainly is among those who are thrilled to have Wiggins now call the Bay home.

“I really thought he did a good job for us,” Adams told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami on "The TK Show" podcast. “People always look at scoring or shooting. I didn’t think he shot the ball very consistently from the perimeter. But good grief, he really showed himself to be a really, really outstanding all-around player. I was particularly pleased with his defense, especially on the ball. I just thought he did a really good job. And against the best players in the league, he really enjoys playing against them and actually picks his game up when he did play against those guys. I thought his floor game was good -- his passing, his penetrating."

“The sky’s the limit for this guy. … He walks onto the floor and he scores 20 points," Adams continued. "There are areas that he can get a lot better in, there’s no question about that. I think he can rebound the ball better. He’s got a nice perimeter shot, but he’s got to groove it a little more, he’s got to get a little more consistency in his delivery and, in my estimation at least, using his lower body into the shot. When he does that, he seldom misses. But he’s been inconsistent on that.”

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

In 12 games with the Warriors before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Wiggins averaged 19.4 points per game on 45.7 percent shooting from the floor and 33.9 percent from 3-point range. Wiggins showcased his talent and his inconsistency during the start of his Warriors tenure, but most believe his game will continue to improve once Curry and Thompson return next season. His passing and defense really stood out in his first 12 games and those skills should fit nicely alongside two of the best shooters in NBA history.

“I was elated to get him into our program,” Adams said. “I think he’s a star player. I think he’s gonna flourish with more shooting on the floor. But I was personally really happy with the all-around nature of his game and what he showed in that regard more so that his scoring, even.”

Wiggins appears to be a much fit for the Warriors' system than Russell, whose ball-dominant offensive game and lackadaisical defensive nature clashed with the foundation of the Warriors' success. Wiggins is a rangy defender who can guard anywhere from one to four. On the offensive end, he can facilitate or operate off the ball as will be the case once Curry returns. His outside shooting needs to improve, but his slashing ability and athleticism have reminded some of Harrison Barnes during his time with the Warriors.

Wiggins' $31.5 million per year contract makes him a possible trade chip as Warriors fans continue to dream of bringing Giannis Antetokounmpo to the Bay. But dealing Wiggins won't be the only move required to bring in Antetokounmpo and build a team around him and Curry. It likely would require the Warriors moving on from Thompson, an idea that isn't appealing to most.

[RELATED: Steph reacts to Dame's comments on 'meaningless' games]

The best way for the Warriors to reboot their dynasty quickly to maximize the remaining prime of Curry, Thompson and Green is to have Wiggins elevate his game and become a core piece of the next wave of the dynasty.

What Wiggins showcased in Minnesota isn't the player he's destined to be. His future still is bright, and the Warriors are the perfect team to maximize the untapped potential that the Timberwolves couldn't bring to the surface.