After five years dealing with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and the Warriors, the NBA got a much-needed reprieve this past season as the Warriors sunk to the bottom of the league due to injuries and a need to recalibrate their roster.
With the Warriors out of the picture, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers bullied their way to an NBA championship and now are the hunted.
A number of teams will be looking to track down James and the Lakers next season, but the Warriors are the team Stephen A. Smith believes the Purple and Gold should be be wary of.
"It will be the Golden State Warriors standing in the way of the Los Angeles Lakers," Smith said on ESPN's "First Take" on Thursday. "With Klay Thompson and Steph Curry coming back, they've got a top pick in the draft, Draymond is there as well. I definitely think if Klay Thompson and Steph Curry are healthy, look the hell out! They will at the very least be in the conference finals. I ain't sleeping on the Golden State Warriors at all."
The Warriors will enter next season with Curry, Thompson and Green hungry to prove their title days aren't behind them. They added Andrew Wiggins at the trade deadline and the 2014 No. 1 overall pick played well in 12 games for the Warriors before the coronavirus outbreak ended the Warriors' season.
This offseason will be a critical one for the Warriors. President of basketball operations Bob Myers must find a way to arm the team with the necessary role players to mount a title hunt. Finding a secondary ball-handler, another center and veteran wings will be crucial to the Warriors' success.
The Warriors own the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and have a $17.2 million trade exception to use to add a quality veteran. Many have speculated that the Warriors could try and swing a trade for another star, but Golden State is high on Wiggins and wants to see how he fits in with a healthy Curry, Thompson and Green.
After an impressive title run, James and the Lakers are no doubt the cream of the NBA crop. But the Warriors are rested and ready to show that rumors of their demise have indeed been exaggerated.
Don't be surprised if James and Curry meet in the Western Conference finals with a trip to the title round on the line. Would you want it any other way?