The 2022 Warriors have a hint of inevitability when they are completely locked in, as they were in the Western Conference finals. When you see Clay Thompson tossed in a few long three-pointers in a row, Andrew Wiggins jails Luka Donsick for three straight hits and then Drymond Green gives another perfect pass, it looks like the team can ‘not be beaten. It starts to look like the Warriors will always return to the NBA Finals once they recover, and their third-place finish and token challenges by the Grizzlies and Mavericks were bumps of momentum at par with the 2019 Blazer or 2017 Jazz. . The team’s perfect record in the Western Conference play-off series under Steve Kerr certainly justifies that feeling of prediction, although Thompson knows better than most, none of which is certain. It’s important to keep in mind how uncertain the team was three years ago and how difficult it was to get back here.
The last time Clay Thompson played in an NBA game before his return in 2022, Ja Morant was still a Murray State player, Luka Donsic was playing with Dark Novitsky, the Sans were a 19-win team and there was no reason to know Anthony Fawcett. Before breaking his ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 final, Thompson was in the process of performing another Game 6 supernova with 30 points from 12 shots. The moment he was crushed in a pile under his own basket, the immediate- and medium-term future of the Warriors was darkened. Kevin Durant was obviously out the door after three uncomfortable years with the team and Thompson will have to take a year off. The team’s books were so stuck that they had to make a first-round pick to get out of Andre Igudala’s contract. With the exception of these three original pieces, all the Warriors except Stef Curry and Drymond Green were left without a bunch of Borderline non-playing depth pieces like Kevin Looney and Alfonso McKinney, Jonas Zerebko and Quinn Cook, none of whom are in the league anymore. Curry and green are unquestionable talents, but they can only make paper on so many cracks. The title Windows Slam shuts down so quickly in this game. More well-equipped title contestants than the 2019 Warriors have melted away from never returning, and due to the neutral competitive nature of the NBA, adversity has always piled up against the intact version of the Warriors reaching the finals again. Knowing how difficult it would be to use the future without Thompson for a while against Green and Curry Prime, Bob Myers and his front office tried to be young.
The theory may be correct, as the strain of appearing in five consecutive finals exacerbated the Warriors’ depth and extra workload in such a way that the team could not reliably expect to fight another final without some dramatic shuffle, although the Warriors immediately sank all the way down the toilet. Myers grew up switching to another first-round pick for D’Angelo Russell, a gambit that initially seemed quite a risk to a team built on a coherent defensive identity that already had a point guard who could be picked apart. The 15-win team in the 2019-20 season has largely given the season-long tryout the young boys cadre mostly disappointed; Jacob Evans proved that he is not an NBA player, Glenn Robinson III showed just how limited he was and after his rookie season, Jordan Poole looked like one of the worst players in the league. The team got even younger, and all they had to show for it was the proof of who sucked and the No. 2 pick, which they must have blown away James Wiseman.
Myers made another play by flipping Russell for a misunderstanding, but even then, the team lined up for their first real go in 2020 with a roster unable to play basketball of their favorite brand in 2020. The team was being pushed in two directions at once, without following the Spursian path of the current competition as the future unfolded. Kelly O’Brien showed that the combined intelligence of the Warriors could only fill so much brain-power deficit. Myers had to watch Wiseman fight with the basic principles of bipedal locomotion because the lamello ball was shining, and a heroic year from Curry resulted in a brilliant play-in exit. Thompson was further away from the court after Achilles was knocked out in the offseason. Two years and zero playoff wins seem to spell things out clearly: the sun is setting on Curry-Green-Thompson Triumvirate. Reinforcement is not coming. But Curry never moved, and the Warriors turned the corner at the end of the 2021 season. They exiled O’Brien to the bench, sheared the rotation of clearly playable kids, and returned to the basic dynamics of curry and green, surpassing everyone. The team has regularly finished 15-5 seasons.
Prior to the 2021 NBA Draft, the Warriors were widely urged to buy the seventh and 14th picks, and perhaps the fourth star that Wiggins could easily identify. The Wiseman’s failure and the pair of years of adventure management have shown that you can’t be in two places at once. It was only natural to wonder if Thompson would look his best again if Green’s aggressive recession lasted, and how long Curry could do everything. Instead, they give a big blow to Jonathan Cumminger and add a very smart wing to Moses Moody. Myers focused on players who would complement the curry-green engine. Instead of Kent Bezemore, who never knew where to stay on the court, the team increased their wing depth with Gary Payton II, a less skilled offensive player who played better defense than Bezemore and scored just as well because he knew exactly. When to cut. Instead of relying on the talented Airhead O’Brien, Myers stopped a coup by signing Auto Porter. Eric Pasal’s minute passed to Nemanja Bezelika, a willing and capable pedestrian who had the intelligence to shoot only when needed. It was a masterwork of team building. Any idea that you can just throw curry and greens as well as anyone and make it work has been scrapped for the past two years. Once again set up as a cohesive team, the Warriors come back as a terrifying team of assassins.
Consider the Mavs series. Dallas ’integrated, intelligent defense has never been more comfortable against the Golden State, while Curry and Green Engineering are happy with good shots. Dallas tried to make things difficult for them, but Kevin Looney had enough experience in the Warriors system that he emerged as an unlikely helper. Wiggins never shot rock outside the logical progression of the Warriors’ offense, and the emergence of Poole as a legitimate ballhandler and offensive threat kept Mavericks more honest than they were. Thompson was the Warriors’ highest scorer in Closeout Game 5, hitting eight threes on his way to 32 points.
Thompson, I think, is the key to understanding the terms of the Warriors’ last day of success. He was not the same athlete before the injury, although his fall as an off-ball defender could mask how much he has returned to form as an on-ball defender. When he can happily head for Donetsk or Spencer Dinweed, he turns the Warriors into a significantly stronger defense. On the other side of the court, the sure sign that the Warriors are humming the offense is a good clay game. Although he led the game in scoring yesterday, most of his shots matched the time at the end of a sentence written by Curry and Green. He rarely dribbled, took zero free throws, and was always in the right place to punish Mavericks for any mistakes he made while defending early action. It goes without saying that Thompson stands there and benefits from the hard work of others. This game, As the scholars have mentioned For decades, almost a bucket, and to the warriors, Thompson’s utility has been to deliver in the grand finale on the beautiful property created by others, that nothing will happen if the resources do not end up in a basket. The passing of Curry and Green demands the focus of any defense, but so does the shooting of Thompson. This is the original loop that the Warriors won many years before they went on tour, and while Wiggins and Poole made their new development, it still won today. Management has built the right team around them, and it’s great to see Curry, Green and Thompson on the verge of another NBA Championship.