The Warriors are confident they will return, but not with this group


I knew he was about to come.

I heard it when Draymond Green “I’m not being myself,” he said on his podcast in January.

You see her anytime Steve Curry He walked dejectedly downfield this postseason, chewing his mouthpiece.

I really believed it when Clay Thompson He collapsed in Game 6, when he usually shines.

this time , Golden State Warriors You can’t pull it off. This time, the three men who always found a way to insist could not. This time, things were different.

The Warriors were eliminated from the playoffs with a 122-101 loss to Los Angeles Lakers In the Game 6 semifinals of the Western Conference on Friday at the Arena. It was the first time Curry, Green, and Thompson had lost a series to a Western Conference team since 2014.

Now, many questions loom over the franchise that has dominated the NBA over the past decade, reaching the Finals in six of the past nine years, and winning four championships.

What will Green do with his player’s choice? Will this be Bob Myers’ last season as general manager? Will Thompson’s Contract Be Extended? an act Jordan Paul Struggle this postseason to put it on the trading block?

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr admitted that this iteration of the Warriors “exceeded” his potential.

But when asked to think about what might happen in the future, he asserts that he still firmly believes in key parts of her incredible past.

“I think it’s very difficult right now to think about that,” Kerr said of the team’s upcoming decisions. “The only thing I will say is that Draymond, Klay and Steph, our key players, have a lot to offer. There is still a lot left in the tank. I thought they all had great seasons.

“Maybe it’s not quite over. But the three guys are still top-level players and I still feel this team has championship potential. We didn’t get there this year. But it’s not like this is the end of the rope.”

Green has a player option for the 2023-24 season worth $27.5 million to stay with the Warriors. If he declines, he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

When asked about his future plans, Green didn’t mince words.

“I want to be a Warrior for the rest of my life,” said Green, who scored nine points, nine rebounds and three assists on Friday. “I want to ride with the same guys I rode with.”

green, however, he told Landscape He hasn’t made up his mind yet, and will weigh his options with his agent, Rich Paul.

If Green chooses to leave, it will be the end of an era. Since the Warriors selected him as the 35th overall pick in the 2012 draft, he’s been the heart and soul of the team, the guy who recommended the Warriors to championships with his words, fearless play, and unbridled determination.

What makes Green is his fire.

But he put himself in a very difficult position to navigate earlier this season. He punched Paul in training. The video was leaked to the world. Since then, he’s had to cross the incredibly narrow line of being fiery, but not too fiery.

“I think a lot of our shortcomings this year are my fault,” Green said on his podcast in January. “Why is it my fault? Because I wasn’t the captain I was and I needed to be for this team. The reason I wasn’t that captain is also my fault.”

But Greene, of course, turned things around. A face elimination in Game 5, he posted 20 points and 10 rebounds.

And after Game 6, Green said he’s grown a lot this season. He’s learned patience, how to pick his spots, and how to work when things don’t go his way.

“This year has helped me as a person, as much as it has helped me as a basketball player,” said Green.

In addition to the very public incident between Green and Paul, the Warriors have had a lot of struggles this season. It’s really impressive that they made it into the second qualifying round considering everything that went wrong. There were injuries. Andrew Wiggins He missed more than two months due to family matters. They were 11-30 on the road.

But they made their way to the playoffs. And then in the first round, they became the first defending league champions to come back from a 2-0 deficit with a win over Sacramento.

For the second round, the Lakers had the better team. And in the end there were a lot of issues they had to overcome.

Paul averaged just 10.6 points this postseason on 34.4 percent shooting from the field and 26.7 percent from outside the arc, which is a sharp drop from the 20.4 points on 43 percent shooting and 33.6 percent depth that he hit this season. season.

Not to mention, Wiggins suffered a broken rib cartilage in Game 5 after a collision LeBron James while going for a bounce. According to Kerr, he was playing “a lot” of pain in Game 6 – not a good recipe for success for a two-way player assigned to protect James in this series.

Then there was the fact that both Thompson and Curry struggled with their shooting in Game 6, as Clay went 3-for-19 from the field and 2-for-12 from outside the arc. Curry finished with 32 points, twice as many as his teammates, but he needed 28 shots to get them.

They were tired. They didn’t have enough depth. There were no last-second heroics to pull them out of a 3-1 series deficit to which they had fallen. Guys who always found a way to persevere when it counted the most were finally running empty.

For a team so used to winning, it was amazing to fall short in the postseason. The three seniors were shell-shocked. Obviously there will be some changes.

But this is absolutely certain: Curry, Thompson, and Green all said they still strongly believe they can still be champions together.

Curry noted that they share a deep confidence in each other that they will “fight ’til the wheels drop.” When asked if they still had what it takes to move on, Thompson said, “I absolutely think so.”

But in the end the choice is now in Green’s hands.

Together, these people have created the NBA’s newest dynasty. Together, they were the perfect ingredients in a sing-along recipe. Together, they were unstoppable.

And though their run finally stopped, they had no doubts that together they could do it again.

“They said we couldn’t do it again last year, we did,” Green said. “They said we’d miss the playoffs this year, we made it. But guess what? We don’t get moral wins. So, we lost. This wasn’t a championship group like it is. But we have champions. We’re made up of champions.”

Melissa Rohlin is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. She has previously covered the league for Sports Illustrated, Los Angeles Times, Bay Area News Group, and San Antonio Express-News. Follow her on Twitter @Melissarohlen.

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