21 weeks ago, the Warriors had Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson as offensive weapons at their disposal. They also were the defending champs — having won three NBA Finals in their past four seasons. Now they have none of those offensive weapons right now. Since the last NBA Finals, Kevin Durant has left to go to the Brooklyn Nets in Free agency, Steph has broken his hand and is out for the season, and Klay is out for the season with a torn ACL.
It all started back with a heated argument between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green — one of the most heated NBA teammate arguments ever caught on camera that dominated public speculation in the world of sports media, for months!
Most NBA experts did not expect KD to stay with the Warriors for very long because he had already achieved what he wanted with the team (Two time NBA Champion, two time Finals MVP). But things really came into perspective when Kevin Durant and Draymond Green got into it during their game against the Clippers on November 12, 2018. The worst part is that neither one would talk to the media about it afterwards — which is completely unlike them.
Draymond Green turned the ball over and KD responded with some criticism. Words were shouted at each other angrily, and Kevin Durant stormed off. Many rumors were going on at that point about Draymond questioning KD’s loyalty. I guess we may never know what that conversation entailed, however we might be able to tie this event to KD’s departure from the Warriors.
Next, fast forward to June 10, 2019. Kevin Durant is still recovering from pulling his calf and the Warriors are facing elimination. Due to the circumstances, they decide to play him. Unfortunately as KD goes to plant his leg into the ground, a shaking motion is visibly seen through his leg. The crowd knows it: he is done. Just days later, it is announced that Durant ruptured his achillies and would be out for at least one whole season. Fans forever questioned the Warriors decision making and whether or not that was the smartest choice. Rumors began to arise about whether KD was mad at Golden State for putting him in. He denied it, but it doesn’t mean that it didn’t have a role in his free-agency decision.
And just as it seemed like it couldn’t get any worse, it did. Klay Thompson went down in their next game — holding his knee and appeared to be in an incredible amount of pain. As he gets up he limps very bad on his leg, but still has free throws to shoot. He chose to come back on to the court to shoot those free throws, whereas most other players wouldn’t have put themselves back in after that much pain. Everything must be ok, right? Nope, the MRI scan came back saying that he had torn his ACL. He would be out for at least a whole season.
Dub Nation might have had more stress and depression in those two days than in the past five years combined! It was certainly a rude awakening for the dynasty. But not all hope was lost yet.
About three weeks later on July 1st, Kevin Durant announced to the world that he was going to sign with the Brooklyn Nets. Also at this time Andre Iguodala was traded and Shaun Livingston retired. Their depth was fading. Most of their best players had left, leaving the Dubs with only a healthy Draymond and Steph.
The Kevin Durant-Nets deal did not work unless the Nets had someone to swap with the Warriors. Lo and behold, the Nets did have some young talent to trade away that was healthy and might be worth an injured KD: D’Angelo Russell. The dynasty was not officially over yet.
D’Angelo Russell brought a lot to the table in terms of his skill. He is athletic, he has great court visions and can shoot threes all day. This was a major addition to the Warriors’ roster.
After free agency ended and this season kicked off, Golden State was looking ready to roll. Then the worst-case scenario happened. On October 30, Steph broke his hand — which required surgery. At that point, they expected him to be out around three months.
Things got a little hectic for the Warriors. At one point Draymond, Steph, and D’Angelo were all out with injuries including Klay too! Unfortunately for the Warriors, Steph was re-evaluated and apparently his injury was much worse than expected. Now he is expected to be out for the remainder of the season.
But not all hope is lost. D’Angelo Russell is emerging as the leader of the Warriors and is beginning to put up record numbers. Just last night, he had 52 points, 9 rebounds, with seven three pointers made.
The Warriors dynasty might be over for now, but the untapped future in D’Angelo Russell and the return of health of Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Steph Curry.
By Cyrus Saatsaz – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69288035