The Golden State Warriors are working through a difficult 2019-20 campaign that has seen them fall to one of the worst records in the league through the first quarter of the season. The team has been bombarded by injuries that have put them in unfamiliar territory in the cellar of the stacked Western Conference. However, there is much reason for optimism about their future beyond this season.
Warriors’ struggling season
In the months heading into this season, there was some iffiness around the franchise’s ability to contend for an NBA title for the first time in several years. It had been rooted in Kevin Durant’s departure in free agency, along with Klay Thompson being sidelined due to recovery from a torn ACL.
Through the first several weeks of the season, things have fallen south in a hurry that has included star point guard Stephen Curry suffering a broken hand that is expected to keep him off the floor for the next few months. The Warriors have also dealt with nagging injuries to All-Star forward Draymond Green for lengthy stretches.
Golden State has had the benefit of possessing another All-Star talent in D’Angelo Russell. Still, the slew of injuries and lack of depth on their restructured roster hasn’t been nearly enough in any regard. The Warriors depend greatly on unproven talent to lead the charge, which has led to many struggles early in the year.
Despite this current situation, Golden State may still be feeling quite encouraged by the long-term future beyond this season.
Warriors’ promising dilemma
Golden State is on the fast track towards finishing with one of the worst records in the league. It may be a significant dropoff from the vast amount of success that they have had over the last five years, but it could be a blessing in disguise.
The Warriors still possess their 2020 first-round pick, which could be more valuable as the season rolls along with them falling to the bottom of the league. There is no guarantee that it will translate into being the first overall pick, but the scenario is well within the picture, given the lack of success they have had.
With that in mind, Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports voiced that this situation could help push the franchise back in the right direction in a significant way. (H/T Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports Bay Area)
“The people I talk to around the league are really worried they are going to trade that first-round pick, the 2020 pick, because if they load up with an All-Star-type player with that pick, they are terrified,” Haberstroh said during the Warriors-Hornets telecast on NBC Sports Bay Area on Wednesday. “Or if they land a Luka Doncic in the draft, they’re terrified. So that 2020 pick, adding to the group they have established here with [Eric] Paschall stepping in right away, man, I think every team is going to try to do a gap year.”
The Warriors also possess a taxpayer exception worth around $17 million and a taxpayer mid-level exception that could be utilized to add more talent. These assets, along with their current core group of Curry, Russell, Thompson, and Green, puts them in a highly favorable position to get back on track as one of the top teams in the league.
Warriors’ long-term focus
Once Durant decided to depart from Golden State, it set the stage for balance to once again reign supreme around the league. It opened the door for several other teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, L.A. Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia 76ers to enter the title contender picture.
Golden State also had the injury bug finally pile up on them that has left them without their star players even to have a chance to compete for a championship this season. The front office likely knew this could be a possibility, which lends well to the bigger picture of looking well beyond the 2019-20 campaign.
If things continue on their current trajectory this season for the Warriors, it could see a huge offseason ahead for the franchise in the summer of 2020.