NBA Season Preview 2019-20: The 5 biggest questions for the Golden State Warriors

Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images /

Kevin Durant is gone and Klay Thompson is out, leaving the Golden State Warriors in a vulnerable place for the first time in half a decade. Here are their five biggest questions for 2019-20.

1. Stephen Curry — over or under 0.5 MVP Awards this season?

Under. The return of the Stephen Curry Show for the first time in three years is going to be a real treat, but a key part of MVP candidacy is team success. Simply put, the Golden State Warriors aren’t going to win enough games to justify Steph winning his third Maurice Podoloff Trophy.

Dating back to Moses Malone in 1981-82, Russell Westbrook (2016-17) is the only MVP winner to play for a team that didn’t win 50 games or finish in one of the top three spots in the standings of his respective conference. The Dubs aren’t winning enough games to snag a top-three seed in the West without Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, so that means it’d take something historic like averaging a triple-double or an unprecedented 3-point barrage to overcome that flaw in his candidacy.

Curry is absolutely going to light it up this year. He’s going to have to in order for Golden State to keep its playoff spot intact until Thompson returns. But if you’re expecting the 400-plus 3-pointers and historic efficiency it’d take for Chef Curry to win MVP in his age-31 season, it feels like a long shot.

2. Explain the state of the Warriors to your friend that only understands the world around them through Simpsons memes.


The Dubs are relying on Klay Thompson recovering from a torn ACL to be legitimate but suddenly vulnerable contenders in 2019-20, and also to keep one of the NBA‘s greatest dynasties from collapsing.

In the meantime, they’re relying on 2020 trade bait D’Angelo Russell to keep their playoff hopes afloat, and contrary to what the Warriors keep saying about keeping him, they’re not paying a sixth man nearly $30 million a year once Klay returns. They’ll have to thread the needle on staying competitive, reincorporating Thompson and then wheeling and dealing Russell to address their very real concerns with rim protection and on the wings.

Willie Cauley-Stein‘s injury suddenly means minutes for Marquese Chriss. Their wings are Alfonzo McKinnie, Jacob Evans, Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson III and rookie Jordan Poole.

So yes, “*Chuckles* I’m in danger” seems apt here.

3. Give me the pitch for a buddy cop comedy starring Curry and D’Angelo Russell.

“Shimmy and DLo” stars officers Steph “Shimmy” Curry and D’Angelo “DLo” Russell working the drug beat in San Francisco. Shimmy is a seasoned vet who’s supposedly seen it all, while DLo is an eager rook trying to learn from one of the department’s all-time greats and make a name for himself.

On their first case together, what starts off as a marijuana bust quickly spirals into an investigation of a major drug ring dealing heroin called “Ice” all over the state of California. While tracking down a key perp, DLo finds his body in a darkened room and realizes the man died of an overdose. The pair are surrounded by enemies, so he silently signals his discovery to his partner by rolling up one sleeve, extending his arm and gesturing to his veins with an index finger. He had Ice in his veins.

Once the duo tracks the heroin to the drug ring’s headquarters, they unload on the compound. They shoot first, second, third and fourth, and ask questions never. Shimmy is extremely accurate with his sniper rifle. DLo is … not, resorting more to a spray ‘n’ pray tactic, up close, with machine guns. He frequently runs out of ammo, and a frustrated Shimmy has to cover him from afar.

“Can you actually make ’em count??” Shimmy demands, taking down another bad guy from long distance with a perfectly placed shot.

“Sorry, Shimmy,” DLo yells as he jams another clip into his gun under heavy fire. “I’m too busy…D-Loading.”

Honestly it’d probably be better as a TV show, and it’d only get one season before being taken off the air, but whatever.

4. Willie Cauley-Stein leads the league in dunks next year: True or false?

Don’t laugh; Willie Cauley-Stein finished sixth in the NBA last season with 182 dunks. With facilitators like Curry, Russell and Draymond Green to feed his rim-running, there’s a good chance he finishes in the top 10 again.

With that being said, he’s not entering the season healthy as he deals with a foot strain, and even when healthy, he’ll probably be playing behind Kevon Looney at the 5. There’s also the immense gap between him and the five players who finished ahead of him last year: JaVale McGee (201 dunks), Montrezl Harrell (203), Clint Capela (240), Giannis Antetokounmpo (279) and Rudy Gobert (306).

If he wasn’t able to beat them while playing for one of the NBA’s fastest teams, and while logging the fourth-most minutes among that six-man group, it’s unlikely he’ll do so in fewer minutes as a backup.

So, yeah. False.

5. Which 3-point records does Curry break this season?

Curry (2,483) is still 490 triples shy of Ray Allen‘s all-time record (2,973), so that one is safe this season. (I think.) Barring injury, he’ll definitely pass Reggie Miller (2,560) for second on the NBA’s all-time 3-point list this year.

He already owns the record for most 3s in a season (402), and as we’ve covered earlier, it’s unlikely we see that one go down unless he’s taking like 13 triples a game.

Speaking of 13 triples, Klay Thompson broke Curry’s single-game record by making 14 in an October slaughtering of the Chicago Bulls last year. That one is definitely in danger, especially with Thompson unable to defend it himself, but without Klay and KD to space the floor and force defenses to pick their poison, it might be harder for the Curry to reach full supernova quite like that.

Next. Meet the 2019 NBA 25-under-25. dark

Maybe Curry takes 15 3-pointers a night, shatters his single-season record with 500 triples, drops 15 in a single game and suddenly owns every relevant 3-point record in NBA history. It just feels unlikely with defenses prepping to key in on him every night and force the other guys to beat them. Maybe he steals the single-game record back from his fellow Splash Brother, but Curry actually might not break new ground with his assault on the record books.