Golden State Warriors: The dynasty continues with the addition of D’Angelo Russell

NBA Golden State Warriors Klay Thompson (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
NBA Golden State Warriors Klay Thompson (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Despite a rough end to the season and a perhaps even worse offseason, the Golden State Warriors dynasty isn’t over just yet

The Summer of 2019.

The 2018-19 season was a mixed bag for the Golden State Warriors. They had their ups returning to another NBA Finals but had their handful of downs. The Warriors dealt with chemistry issues, injuries, and a departure of a big star. Things looked like the signs of the end of a dynasty, but a sudden upward turn came at an unexpected time in the offseason.

Let’s turn in back to the NBA Playoffs.

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The team fought through their struggles and made it back to the 1-seed in the West. However, the injury bug continued to haunt them. They lost DeMarcus Cousins to a quad injury in the first round in April. Then a couple of weeks later, they lost Kevin Durant to a calf injury in the second round.

Fortunately, they got them both back in the NBA Finals. Durant returned in Game 5 to try and help the team overcome their 1-3 series deficit. He looked like the push they needed to make this historic comeback. However, despair struck again. Durant ruptured his Achilles in his return game in only the second quarter. The Warriors persevered and won the game for Durant. Yet, still trailing in the series 2-3, they had to win a pivotal Game 6 at home.

Things were going their way in the game as they were trading buckets with Toronto. However, with two minutes left in the third, Klay Thompson went down holding his knee. A couple of minutes went by as he valiantly tried to fight his way to shoot his free throws and stay on the floor. But the doctors and coaches took him off the court and back to the locker room. It was a gut punch to the Warriors and a bigger punch to Thompson, who plays hard every single night.

Draymond Green and Stephen Curry led the Warriors to fight until the very end of the game until Kawhi Leonard and Raptors seemed too much for the beaten-up Warriors. This loss would be the first of many bad tastes for the Warriors over the summer.

Following the game, it was revealed that Thompson had suffered a torn ACL and Durant had suffered a torn Achilles. Both injuries are tough to fully recover from and take more than six months to become fully healthy again. Inconveniently for the Warriors, those guys were also both free agents. And so their summer of retaining their dynasty began.

Only the splash brother seemed certain to stay, but Durant’s future wasn’t very clear. No one could really figure out where he wanted to sign: the Golden State Warriors, the New York Knicks, the Brooklynn Nets, or the Los Angeles Clippers or even the Los Angeles Lakers. In the end, it turned out to be the with the Nets joining Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan. It was a move that may have hurt Golden State but didn’t necessarily surprise them.

Thankfully, a day later Klay Thompson revealed he intends to re-sign with the Warriors for the max. Golden State could breath a little knowing their original trio of Steph, Klay, and Draymond would stick together.

The night of Durant’s announcement to depart for Brooklyn, something strange happened. A deal started being discussed to bring D’Angelo Russell to Golden State in a sign-and-trade. Moments later, the trade was finalized rushing new life into the Warriors. All of a sudden, the mortalized Warriors became immortalized again. They became blessed with a 23-year-old All-Star guard.

Bob Myers continued to bring the Warriors from the depths of despair as he went on a rampage of great additions: Willie Cauley-Stein, Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson III, Jordan Poole, and Omari Spellman. Myers covered all the bases collecting some good, young players that can replenish the injured and beaten Warriors. It may not seem like the same version of the team that fans have seen the past three years with Durant. However, this team closely resembles their 2015 and 2016 teams.

If you don’t remember, let me remind you with two words: depth and persistence. Steph, Klay, and Draymond would pound your team with great shooting, passing, ball movement, and great defense. Then, those guys sub out and a fresh wave of players come into continuing the avalanche of scoring and defense. Those teams were deep and very hard to beat. It took possibly some of the greatest NBA Finals performances from the one of the game’s best players to defeat them. I’m talking about 40 point and triple-double performances from LeBron James to beat this Warriors team.

Now, here we are again. The same core will carry the mantle, but a new and young and hungry bunch of players will pick up the slack. Cauley-Stein will make a great starting center and at 25 years old he’ll improve lots. Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III will help and be scoring threats off the bench for the team. Then there’s their newly drafted first-round pick Jordan Poole.

He’s steaming with raw offensive talent that will be well trained in Golden State being surrounded by some of the best offensive players in the game today. Omari Spellman was also a sneaky player acquired via trade with the Atlanta Hawks. The second-year forward will prove valuable on a team who likes to play smaller ball.

Yet, doubts remain about the team because of a lost superstar. To put down any concerns on the effects of losing  Durant I will just once again mention D’Angelo Russell. This guy is only 23 years old and has already made All-Star team. He led the Nets to the playoffs last year. This guy is no joke and has the potential to develop into something really special, especially in Golden State where Steve Kerr finds a way to maximize every players’ skills. Russell will help carry Thompson’s load as he works his way back from his ACL injury.

Don’t forget about Steph Curry either. He surely does perform well in the regular season play. Even without Klay, he will continue to dominate the league as the league’s best shooter and one the league’s best offensive players. Draymond Green too. After he chose to forgo free agency next summer and signed an extension with the Warriors, he’ll have some new energy to continue to fight and help the team contend next year.

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So in conclusion, don’t forget the Warriors when thinking about LeBron and the Lakers, Kawhi and Paul George and the Clippers, or any other talented team in the West. Golden State will be right up there with the top teams. And when Klay returns, they’ll be a serious threat at winning the title again. The dynasty will not end with Durant leaving.

The Warriors’ dynasty continues.