- Editor’s note: Reporter Kendra Andrews will look at the players on the Warriors’ roster that will make or break their return to championship contention.
Last year could arguably have been Steph Curry's best season to date. It's either that or his 2015-16 unanimous MVP season.
Which is better is hearsay, but both of those seasons saw Curry display unbelievable shooting, win the season's scoring title and remind everyone why he is one of the most unguardable players in NBA history.
Yes, the Warriors won the title after his 2015-16 campaign, but what last season's epic showing told us (at least, those who didn't already believe it) that Curry can carry a team.
He was without Kevin Durant, without Klay Thompson, and had to lead a team with little to no playoff experience and no history playing with each other.
The big question for Curry heading into this year is, how can he follow up that MVP-caliber season?
Of course, Curry shouldn't have as much on his shoulders this year. This Warriors team is more experienced -- both on the individual player level and as a cohesive group. Plus, Thompson will be coming back, and overall, this team is deeper than last year's iteration.
But, the question of how dominant Curry can be this season isn't just about helping the 2021-22 Warriors. It's also about the years to come as well.
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This summer, the Warriors signed Curry to a four-year, $215.4 million extension, signaling they believe he still has at least several years of his prime left. If he plays anywhere near the level he showed last season, he will have begun to prove them right.
For the Warriors to contend...
First and foremost, Curry must stay healthy.
If he doesn't, kiss any chance of the Warriors making the postseason goodbye.
But assuming he stays healthy, Curry has to be great if the Warriors want to make it back into the championship conversation. But before they can even enter that discussion, Curry has to be great for Golden State to return to the playoffs.
This isn't to say Curry has to put up the same kind of numbers as he did last season. Thirty-two points on 48.2 percent shooting, including 42.1 percent from three, is a big ask. But he can't take his foot off the gas too much, especially early on while they wait for Thompson to return.
The Warriors are integrating a lot of new faces into their roster and still are ironing out their rotation. They are attempting to balance winning now and developing their future, and while Curry will need help for the supporting cast to get another championship, a lot of the winning now part of the equation will come down to Curry.