The Golden State Warriors exited the playoffs before the Finals for the first time since 2014 last season. What does 2023/24 have in store for the Dubs?
Given the Warriors' track record over the past decade, their second-round exit to the Los Angeles Lakers last season will be viewed as a hugely-disappointing end to the season.
Comments made after their elimination indicated the team chemistry that allowed them to win four championships between 2015 and 2022 was nowhere near as strong in 2023.
Headed into the new season, the core of the team - Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and head coach Steve Kerr - remains intact, with a certain Hall of Fame point guard coming to town as well.
Priced at +1100 to win the 2023/24 NBA title, we assess what the future might hold for the Warriors.
Seven members of Golden State’s current 17-man roster are in their 30s and it seems as if Coach Kerr is going to stick with experience over youth in the season ahead.
The usual big names took up three of the top four spaces for starting roles in 2022/23 - with Curry starting 56 regular season games, Klay Thompson 69 and Draymond Green 73 - and all three will be key players in the coming season.
Kevon Looney - now 27 - led the team in rebounds with a 9.3 average and will begin the season as a regular starter.
Injuries meant small forward Andrew Wiggins only made 37 regular season starts and Gary Payton II only featured in seven games, but both may have bigger roles to play.
Andre Iguodala’s return to San Francisco didn’t go to plan as the veteran managed just eight appearances due to hip and wrist injuries. Iguodala’s deal came to an end at the conclusion of the campaign and last year may well prove to have been his last in the NBA.
One player who could feature more in 2023/24 is Jonathon Kuminga as the forward gears up for his third season.
The 20-year-old increased his Field Goal Percentage and his PPG, as well as starting more games, so will hope Kerr will offer him more of a chance to shine next season.
After the conclusion of the previous campaign, the general expectation was that Golden State may try and bring a few younger players in to support their older heads, but they’ve opted for a very different approach.
Veteran point guard Chris Paul was recruited after spending the last three seasons with the Phoenix Suns, while Jordan Poole moved to Washington, alongside Ryan Rollins, Patrick Baldwin Jr. and future draft picks, as part of that trade.
Paul brings an incredible amount of experience and it was perhaps no huge shock to see Poole move on after a well-publicised fall-out with Green last summer.
The former LA Clippers and Suns guard will probably have to settle for a bench role for the first time in his career at Golden State, but he can clearly make a huge impact for the team and brings plenty of desire, as he seeks a first ever championship in his 19th season in the league.
The Dubs have also added Cory Joseph and Dario Saric to their roster, with both likely to be among their bench players.
Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis were added in the NBA Draft, but may well struggle for game time and could end up joining G-League affiliate Santa Cruz Warriors.
Poole isn’t the only notable departure as Donte DiVincenzo, who topped the GSW stats for steals last season, has now joined the New York Knicks. Fringe man Ty Jerome is now with the Cavaliers of Cleveland and Iguodala has been released.
With Poole having been moved on, it seemed only a matter of time before an agreement was reached with free agent Green to extend his stary with the Warriors.
The 33-year-old has played his entire NBA career to date with Golden State, so it always seemed unlikely that he would be allowed to walk away.
And so it proved around a month ago as the four-time All-Star put pen to paper on a new four-year contract which could well mean that the man from Michigan finishes his NBA day with the Dubs.
Curry remains unquestionably the star of the show for Golden State, and the squad changes that have occurred during the summer have been made with the goal of helping build a team around the 35-year-old that can challenge for the championship.
Injuries did hamper Curry in 2022/23, as he managed 56 appearances compared to 63 and 64 in the previous two campaigns.
But the nine-time NBA All Star still made the top-10 points scorers during the regular season (7th) with an average of 29.4 points per game - up on last season’s 25.5 points average.
Curry’s average also went up during the postseason, with the point guard firing 30.5 per game across GSW’s 13 playoff games.
With four titles to his name, Curry will feel he can potentially surpass the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Tony Parker and LeBron James.
Curry, who is the NBA’s highest paid star, led the league again in three-pointers made, whilst also averaging 6.3 assists per game.
The stats don’t lie and, if he can stay fit for the majority of the next season, there’s no reason to believe that Golden State can’t challenge for the main prize once again.