NBA - US Sports: What next for Golden State Warriors?
After two years in the wilderness Golden State Warriors claimed the championship with a 4-2 series win over Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, but can they repeat that feat next season?
The Dubs were the dominant force in the NBA between 2014 and 2019, winning three championships and reaching five straight Finals Series, but they missed out on the post-season altogether in 2020 and in 2021 they were eliminated in the play-in tournament by Memphis Grizzlies.
The Warriors bounced back this year as they claimed third seed in the Western Conference and went on to win the title.
Golden State never trailed a series until the Finals, where Boston twice took the lead, and their march to a fourth championship in eight years was ultimately fairly comfortable, so how did they get back to the top and where do they go from here?
What happened to Golden State Warriors after 2019?
Golden State were bidding for a three-peat in 2019, but they fell short as they were shocked by the Toronto Raptors in the Finals.
Not only did the Warriors lose that series, they also lost Klay Thompson to a torn ACL in his left knee and Kevin Durant missed the majority of the play-offs before he sustained an Achilles tendon injury in Game 5 of the finals, in what proved to be his final game for the team.
Durant opted to depart for Brooklyn Nets after the campaign came to an end to leave Golden State in need of a rebuild.
Finding a way to fill a Durant-shaped hole on its own would be a big task, but the Dubs were also left to cope without Thompson for the entirety of the 2019/20 campaign too and they ended up finishing in 15th spot in the West.
Thompson was expected to return the following season, however he sustained an Achilles tendon injury in a pick-up game before the campaign began and was ruled out for the second year in a row.
The Warriors did select highly-rated center James Wiseman with the second overall draft pick in 2020, but he struggled to make an impact, despite some encouraging performances and his campaign was also cut short by injury.
How did Golden State Warriors win the Championship?
The San Francisco outfit may have been down - but nobody ever thought they were out - and this season they looked like the Golden State of old for much of the campaign.
The emergence of Jordan Poole in his third year with the franchise proved key in the early stages.
The third-year guard may still have some work to do on the defensive side of his game, but he has become a key man on offense and Stephen Curry finally had some quality backcourt support with Thompson still missing.
Andrew Wiggins was able to make an impact in his second full season with the team, while the return of Andre Iguodala - a key member of their team from 2013 to 2019 and the 2015 Finals MVP - also provided a morale boost.
Thompson's comeback in January was huge, even if he is yet to hit the kind of form he displayed prior to his two-year injury nightmare.
Curry had his fellow Splash Brother back and the Warriors were able to push on and secure third spot in the regular season, before their march to the championship in the play-offs.
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Will the Warriors make changes in the off-season?
There won't be too many comings and goings at the Chase Center during the off-season. The core of Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green will be together for at least one more season, so no major changes are required.
The focus will probably be on getting Wiseman back to full fitness and helping the youngster, and Poole, develop further as Golden State continue to build for the future.
Could LeBron James join Golden State Warriors?
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has teased that he would be open to a move to Golden State, indeed these rumours started way back in 2017 and have resurfaced in the build-up to the 2022 off-season.
James will almost certainly spend the coming campaign in LA - but if he does decide to continue playing beyond next season a move to the Bay Area isn't completely out of the question.
What are Golden State Warriors 2022 NBA Draft picks?
Golden State have one first-round and two second-round picks for the 2022 NBA Draft - No.28 (first round), No.51 (second round) and No.55 (second round).
There is speculation the Dubs could opt for a center with their first-round pick to try and provide some back-up for Wiseman, who should play a big role next season.
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