Before the 2019-20 NBA season was suspended indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Warriors had the worst record in the league.
Is it really possible that they immediately become a title contender in 2020-21 and 2021-22? Is the championship window still open?
ESPN recently published its "NBA Future Power Rankings," and the answer to the two aforementioned questions is "yes."
So here's how it works:
The Future Power Rankings are ESPN Insider's projection of the on-court success expected for each team over the next three seasons, including 2019-20 if the NBA returns to action.
We asked ESPN analysts Kevin Pelton and Bobby Marks to rate teams in five categories and rank them relative to the rest of the league.
Simple enough, right?
Well, the Warriors currently sit in third place behind the LA Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers.
Here's how Golden State ranked in the five categories:
1) Players (58.3 percent of the score) = 6th
2) Management (16.7 percent of the score) = 4th
3) Money (8.3 percent of the score) = tied for 26th
4) Market (8.3 percent of the score) = 2nd
5) Draft (8.3 percent of the score) = 3rd
As Marks writes:
Golden State's two projected lottery picks in 2020 and 2021 -- their own this year and Minnesota's (top-three protected) in 2021 -- are largely responsible for the top-five ranking. In addition to their draft assets, the Warriors have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins under contract for at least the next three seasons, which should put them in contention with both Los Angeles teams.
Eventually, we will find out if the Warriors keep the prized draft picks or package them together in a trade for another star player.
Assuming things return to normal in the not-so-distant future, it truly will be fascinating to see how the front office constructs the roster.