Warriors

Nate Duncan has questions, concerns about Klay and Draymond

Warriors

We don't know who the Warriors are going to pick in the 2020 NBA Draft next week. We don't know if they'll pull off a major trade involving Andrew Wiggins, and we don't know if they'll be able to add some critical pieces in free agency.

What we do know, however, is that the Warriors will go as far as Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green can take them.

The three homegrown pillars of Golden State's dynasty aren't going anywhere, and the Warriors' chances of contending for the championship this season will be highly dependent on their combined performance. If they play up to their previous standard, there are only a handful of teams that will be able to compete with them.

But, if they don't, the Warriors likely can kiss their title hopes goodbye.

When it comes to the Warriors' big three, NBA analyst Nate Duncan's confidence in each individual varies.

"A little more concerned about [Thompson], particularly defensively," Duncan recently told NBC Sports Bay Area's Grant Liffmann on the "Runnin' Plays" podcast. "You'll see when guys come off of major injuries and when they get into their 30's, the defense can fall off faster than the offense. His finishing at the rim may not be as good, I think he's going to be the same guy as an offensive player and a shooter, or pretty close to it maybe just not quite as explosive. Not quite as good of a driver or iso game. But I think defensively is where I have the biggest question marks about him, particularly because he is almost certainly going to be tasked with being their best wing defender now."

 

Thompson hasn't played since sustaining a torn ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. He has since recovered and participated in the Warriors' recent voluntary minicamp, but until he proves he's still the same player he was before the injury, questions will persist.

Download and subscribe to the Runnin' Plays Podcast

More so than Thompson, Duncan wouldn't be shocked if Green declined this season.

"Also serious concerns about him, but we are not going to know where he is at until the playoffs," Duncan explained. "Even in '18 and '19, when they were a really competitive team, not to mention last year, he just wasn't the same guy in the regular season. But even as late as 2019, he was maybe the best defensive player in the playoffs. We did not see that from him, except very brief flashes, last year. And can he still protect the rim like we've seen? Can he still be quick enough defensively to stay in front of guys on switches? 

"Those are questions, and then maybe less of a question, which is a bad thing for the Warriors, where he is at offensively. The shooting I think the assumption has to be it's just not going to be there anymore, and his drive game, his finishing, his ability to push in transition, all of that given the age that he is at are going to be major question marks. What kind of shape he comes, as well. We haven't seen him turn it on until the playoffs, and my expectation is he is not going to look very good during the regular season, but we won't know for sure if it will carry into the playoffs until we actually see him at that level."

RELATED: Duncan makes bold claim about Warriors guards Lee, Mulder

Don't worry, Warriors fans. Duncan isn't sour on all members of the big three. He has high expectations for Curry, who should be well rested after being limited to just five games last season.

"I'm more optimistic about Steph than Klay or Draymond," Duncan said. "He keeps himself in great shape, shooting is the skill that ages the most. He doesn't have a major injury that he's coming off of, at least from the lower body. The hand should be ready to go. He takes great care of himself. I don't expect him to be in the MVP conversation because I just don't think he's going to play quite enough, just because they are going to be resting him. But if healthy, I expect him to have a monster year."

It has been well over a year since the last time Thompson, Green and Curry played in a game together. The wait thankfully is nearly over, and it will be interesting to see how much has changed since.