What feels longer? Five years or 18 months? For Steph Curry and the Warriors, the latter is the easy answer.
After five consecutive runs to the NBA Finals, the Warriors bottomed out last year with Curry (broken hand) playing only five games and Klay Thompson (ACL rehab) missing the entire season. That year away from the spotlight allowed Curry and the Warriors to rest and recuperate after a half-decade tormenting the rest of the NBA. It also gave their detractors and critics time and space to proclaim them dead and buried.
The Warriors that will return Dec. 22 against the Brooklyn Nets will look far different than the team that exited stage left after the 2019 NBA Finals. While Curry missed being in the thick of things last season, the gap year gave he and the Warriors fuel that will propel them this season.
"To kind of have a fresh reset from the five-year run was -- I wouldn't call it necessary because I would have loved to have been playing last year, but it was useful," Curry told 95.7 The Game's "Damon, Ratto & Kolsky." "And now it's about turning that into momentum coming in this season. And I think a leader, and with me, Draymond and what we have to accomplish this year, hopefully gives us a little chip on our shoulder, a fresh perspective, and understanding what the challenge is ahead of us. We've had a lot of successes, a lot of experiences these last five years been a crazy roller coaster. It almost feels like we're starting at ground zero again which is kind of awesome."
The rest of the NBA has been anxiously awaiting the Warriors' return to the main stage. Thompson's torn Achilles took some wind out of the Warriors' sails, but they still have the talent to be a force come playoff time.
A rested and healthy Curry, combined with a motivated Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Oubre and star rookie James Wiseman should, in theory, give the Warriors a dynamic lineup that can hang with the best in the NBA.
Five straight trips to the NBA Finals flew by. The Warriors went from NBA darling to goliath to expired dynasty in the blink of an eye.
But Curry is excited for the challenge that awaits him and the new-look Warriors. They are no longer the hunter. They are rested, refueled and ready to make a statement that rumors of their demise have indeed been exaggerated.