Due to the departure of Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson's torn ACL, many assume the 2020 Western Conference champion will be someone other than the Golden State Warriors, who have won the last five Western Conference titles. While there are a lot of good teams in the Western Conference that could certainly dethrone them, it has been surprising how many people, including myself, seem to have forgotten just how much of a strangle hold the Warriors have had.
I don't want to undermine the significance of losing Durant and the injury to Thompson. Durant was huge to the Warriors' championship runs and Thompson, the second Splash Brother, is a killer back court mate for Stephen Curry. The road just got harder for the Warriors, but that doesn't mean it's impossible for them to conquer. Below are three reasons why the Warriors can still get back to the NBA Finals in 2020.
#1. Stephen Curry: If there is one player who has had to sacrifice their ego to make this Warriors team work, it's Stephen Curry. Before Durant came aboard, the Warriors were Curry's team and he did a masterful job of running them. Now, once again, the Warriors belong to Curry and you can bet that he is excited. Plus, Curry knows how much he and his team are being overlooked. Look for a very motivated and focused Curry this season. That should scare everyone in the NBA.
#2. Experience: When you have been to five straight NBA Finals, one thing you definitely have is experience. The Warriors have been through a lot as a team and have always found a way to come out of the West anyways. They know how to dig deep and go to the well better than any team in the NBA. The rest of the Western Conference is much more unproven and until someone comes along and proves that they can beat them, the Dubs deserve the respect that five straight NBA Finals appearances gets you.
#3. Klay Thompson isn't out for the year: While the Warriors will start the season without Klay, he's not done for the season. He should be back after the All-Star break and help the Warriors make a championship run come playoff time. So long as they have the Splash Brothers as well as Draymond Green, the Warriors should be feeling pretty good. On top of that, they have an amazing head coach in Steve Kerr who can be trusted to make the right adjustments.
The bottom line: The Warriors have made five straight NBA Finals appearances for a reason and still have a ton of talent and experience. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Steve Kerr have been through the fire before and know what it takes to go all the way. I understand the Western Conference has a lot of interesting new flavors, but that shouldn't make us forget who has been winning the West over these last several years.
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