Warriors

Steph Believes? Two-time MVP thinks Warriors can 'surprise'

Warriors
Warriors' Steph Curry

Steph Curry isn't doubting the Warriors' capabilities this season, even as Klay Thompson is set to miss all of it.

Curry is a fan of Golden State's roster in his Splash Brother's absence, and of general manager and president of basketball operations Bob Myers' work revamping a team that finished an NBA-worst 15-50 last season.

"Obviously Klay going down was extremely tough," Curry told reporters Monday in a video conference call. "I think we made some really, really solid moves in free agency, obviously drafting [No. 2 overall pick James] Wiseman. I like where we're at."

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Wiseman, a 7-foot-1 center, was the crown jewel of the Warriors' offseason. Golden State selected him the same day Thompson tore his right Achilles' tendon, making the 19-year-old the franchise's highest pick this century. Hopes are high for Wiseman, who didn't practice with the Warriors on Monday for an undisclosed reason amid the news two players tested positive for the coronavirus last week. Wiseman, and fellow 2020 draft pick Nico Mannion, can only be counted on so much during their rookie seasons, and the Warriors added plenty of experience in free agency as a result. 

Kent Bazemore is back in the Bay Area, Brad Wanamaker will back up Curry and Kelly Oubre Jr. likely will start in Thompson's place on the wing. Bazemore has eight NBA seasons under his belt, Oubre has five and Wanamaker has nearly a decade of domestic and overseas experience.

 

The Warriors still have some flexibility, too. Golden State has a $9.3 million disabled player exception (DPE) it can use in light of Thompson's injury, and the exception reportedly expires in April. Myers might not yet be done tinkering with the Warriors' roster until then, but Curry is happy with the state of things just over two weeks before the start of the regular season.

"I know you guys could analyze the salary cap sheet and look at what decisions might be in the future, but for what we have right now, I love where we're at," Curry continued. "I love the fact that we have enough pieces, enough talent and enough experience to surprise a lot of people this year and try to compete at the top of the [Western Conference], see what happens."

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The Warriors, unquestionably, are a better team at the start of the 2020-21 NBA season than they were when the previous season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. A first-half schedule teeming with contenders will quickly reveal whether or not Curry's confidence for this season is misplaced, but the DPE will be there if Golden State looks a cut below.

Curry knows the Warriors' outlook could drastically change over the next season -- and beyond. Thompson should return at some point in the 2021-22 campaign, while Wiseman will have a year under his belt and (presumably) will have more of a traditional offseason. The two-time NBA MVP isn't thinking that far ahead, though.

"This is a league of change now, and so who knows what the conversation will be eight, 10 [or] 12 months from now," Curry said. " ... As a player you can think about it, but you've got to stay in the moment, or else you're cheating yourself and that's how we approach it."