The days of the Golden State Warriors being head and shoulders above the rest of the league are over, but they are still loaded with talented, championship-caliber players.
Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Iguodala are no longer on the roster, but the five-time defending Western Conference champs added All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell to help fill the void while Klay Thompson recovers from a torn ACL.
Here’s a look at Golden State’s updated roster:
Glenn Robinson III
The best-case scenario for Golden State involves Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Russell leading the way for much of the regular season while Thompson is out. It can no longer trot out a fivesome of Curry, Durant, Thompson, Green and Cousins that resembles an All-Star team more than an NBA squad, but there is enough talent in that trio to contend.
Kevon Looney’s return also provides a level of stability in the frontcourt, especially after he averaged a career-best 6.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists a night during the 2018-19 campaign.
Look for him to assume an even larger role in 2019-20 since he can play in taller lineups with Willie Cauley-Stein if needed.
Thompson could be back before the postseason, which could spell trouble for some of the Western Conference title contenders as early as the first round. The Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers are all realistic contenders, and any of them would have their hands full with the Warriors in the first round.
Curry, Thompson and Green were the primary playmakers on the 2015 title team, and Russell is just 23 years old and coming off his first All-Star season. He could thrive in Steve Kerr’s offensive system, giving Golden State another dangerous weapon.
This is no longer a roster worthy of inclusion in discussions about the best teams in NBA history like in recent years past, but there is enough talent to compete for a deep playoff run. The rest of the Western Conference is officially on notice.