This season will be much different for the Warriors. Steph Curry knows that. Everyone knows that.
After lording over the NBA for the last five seasons, the Warriors have undergone a series of changes, with Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Quinn Cook and DeMarcus Cousins all exiting the Bay Area.
Curry, Draymond Green and new addition D'Angelo Russell will be tasked with shouldering a heavy burden this season, as they look to jell quickly in order to keep the Dubs afloat in a revamped Western Conference until Klay Thompson returns from his torn ACL. With Thompson tearing his ACL in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, there is some question as to whether or not the five-time All-Star will even return this season. ACL rehab normally is long and strenuous, and the Warriors want to make sure he is at 110 percent when he steps back on the court.
Due to the myriad of changes the Warriors have undergone, many are expecting a down year from the NBA's former goliath, and some even have predicted they will miss the playoffs, especially if Curry, Russell and Green fail to jell quickly.
There is a different course for the Warriors, though. Some would call it overly optimistic. Others, borderline possible. It's most aptly described as the Dubs' best-case scenario. One that undoubtedly makes Curry smile at the thought of.
"Yeah, I feel like right now that is the picture we want to paint in terms of," Curry told The Athletic's Sam Amick. "We get to the playoffs, we’re full strength with who we have on this team, Klay is back, and we have the championship pedigree that will follow us and we’ll be the team that, like you said, you don’t want to see across the bracket.
"But in the meantime, we’ve got some weapons and guys that have an opportunity to really establish themselves, and it’s our job to try to give them the best chance to be successful at that. I feel like we can really create a lot of excitement and buzz around – quote, unquote – the new look, or whatever you want to call it, that might surprise you. I feel like right now there are a lot of unknowns, and this first 20-game period is going to be revealing all the way around. We have a chance to really solidify what this team can be, and build on that, and then come playoff time be a threat."
While the scenario might feel like a pipe dream, it's certainly not unfeasible that Thompson could return sometime after the All-Star break and the six- or seven-seeded Warriors could make a run in the Western Conference playoffs. Curry, Green, Thompson and Russell would give the Warriors enough firepower to match up with any of the West's newly-crowned kings.
No matter how the season plays out for Curry and the Warriors, he knows one thing: it'll be tough.
“At the end of the day, we’re gonna have to scrap for everything,” Curry told Amick. “And I like that kind of vibe where there’s nothing pretty about what we’re going to do.”