Additions: DeMarcus Cousins, Tyler Ulis, Jacob Evans, Jonas Jerebko
Subtractions: Javale McGee, Zaza Pachulia, David West
Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Stephen Curry
SG: Klay Thompson
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: Draymond Green
C: Jordan Bell (DeMarcus Cousins when he returns from injury)
Key Bench Players: Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Quinn Cook, Jonas Jerebko
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the 2019 NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors. The rich just got richer this offseason with the addition of 4-time All Star DeMarcus Cousins, who may miss a couple months nursing his torn Achilles from last season with the Pelicans. Nevertheless, Golden State will still trot out their 4 All Star lineup in Steph, Klay, KD, and Draymond Green prior to Boogie’s return.
This may be the most boring article in this entire 30 in 30 series because everybody knows that the Warriors will complete the three-peat. There are not many predictions to make or try to analyze a roster in question. Could the Celtics or even the 76ers steal a game or two from them in the Finals? Sure but it is not a realistic expectation for them to actually beat the “Monstars” in a seven game series. They have a legitimate five All Star starting lineup when Cousins is healthy. They have a system built by Steve Kerr that makes any player look good including Javale McGee, Zaza Pachulia, and Nick Young. Even without Cousins, second year big man out of Oregon, Jordan Bell, is still a stud and will thrive alongside his All Star foursome with his explosive athleticism, shot blocking, and rebounding.
Steph Curry is a two-time MVP and the best shooter of all time. Klay Thompson in his own right is close to a top-five shooter of all time if he is not there already. Kevin Durant is the best player in the NBA not named LeBron James and is probably a top 15-20 all time player. Draymond Green is continuously in the mix for Defensive Player of the Year and is the epitome of a Swiss Army Knife in today’s NBA. He is a superb defender, leads the Warriors in assists per game, rebounds at a high rate, and can stretch the floor when asked to. Plug in Boogie Cousins and you have a do-it-all big man who can shoot, score, rebound, pass, and defend. This lineup puts a whole new meaning to the Warriors’ “Death Lineup.” They can literally kill any team by 20 points when they play together. They have three guys in Steph, KD, and Cousins who could probably average 30 points per game (KD and Curry have both done so in the past) and Klay could average over 25 if he were the number one option. There is simply no way to beat them.
To add more to this whole “doom and gloom” vibe for the rest of the NBA, the Warriors still have a strong bench to match up with the best of the NBA’s second units. Shaun Livingston is a mid-range wizard. Quinn Cook is a solid backup point guard who can pass, shoot, and defend. Jonas Jerebko is a career 36.3% three point shooter and will only see more open looks on this Warriors offense. Don’t forget former 76ers star and 2015 NBA Finals MVP, Andre Iguodala, who at age 34, can still defend at an above average level, create plays for others, and score within the offense. Then when Jordan Bell returns, the bench gets a shot-swatting, high-flying big man to protect the rim.
The only way the Warriors can be beaten is if at least two or three of their All Stars suffer a season-ending injury which is highly unlikely. The good news is all three of KD, Klay Thompson, and DeMarcus Cousins are free agents next offseason. The bad news is Klay has no desire to leave the Bay Area and KD could opt in to his $31.5M player option for next year. They don’t have much young talent once their All Stars grow older in a few years. Hopefully in less than five years we have a new team come out as the undeniable best team in the NBA or even better: four or five teams who could all win the title. That’s just my opinion.
Picture Courtesy of Sportskeeda
*For yesterday’s article on the Detroit Pistons, click here.
Up next tomorrow: Houston Rockets
University of South Carolina ’21