Are the Warriors Real Contenders?



After the Warriors hot start to the 2021 season, many fans have started to consider them favorites to win it all.

Sophia T., Morgan C., and Justin T.

The Golden State Warriors have started off the year exceeding expectations. With an 18-3 second-place record, the Warriors have made themselves true NBA Finals contenders. 

“We know we have a lot of things that we can sharpen up, like every team in the league,” Stephan Curry said, “but we have the capability to do it. Most teams kind of trick themselves a little bit. I really feel like we have that capability to take productive strives every game.”

In the 2021 off-season, many fans expected Golden State to make a huge splash in the trade market. Considering they had the seventh and fourteenth overall picks, everybody expected the Warriors to trade both of them. To most analysts’ surprise, the Warriors ended up selecting and retaining Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody. Instead of going after a superstar, general manager Bob Meyers went after veterans including Andre Iguodala, Otto Porter Jr., and Nemanja Bjelica. So far this year, these signings are working to perfection. 

“We got guys that understand basketball, understand how to play,” Curry said. “There’s always good intentions with what we’re trying to do even if it doesn’t necessarily work out. We’re all trying to do the right things and understand the philosophy of how we’ve got to create shots. And then obviously defensively, our principles that we need to rely on every night.”

Aside from the outstanding performance from the bench, the 22-year old Jordan Poole has stepped up for the Warriors in the absence of All-Star Klay Thompson. Averaging 18 points, three assists, and three rebounds, Poole has been huge for the Warriors this year. 

“He’s just worked really hard and got a lot of confidence,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, “The thing we’re trying to press upon him now is his defense. It’s gonna determine everything.”

Along with Jordan Poole, starting small forward Andrew Wiggins has had a very nice start to the year. Through 20 games, Wiggins has averaged 19 points on 50 percent shooting. Everyone knows that Curry drops around 25 points per game, but the key factor is who will step up as the secondary star and take off some weight from Curry’s shoulders. And Wiggins has done just that. 

“He’s a fantastic defender, he’s been aggressive offensively, this has been his most efficient season. The work pays off,” said Kerr.

Another huge factor for the Warriors success is the outstanding defense and offense of Draymond Green. All analysts and fans know about Green’s aggressiveness on the defensive end, but this year he has put in the work on both ends of the floor. Averaging eight points, eight rebounds, and what he’s most known for, eight assists, Green has shown he had put in the work during the off-season. Along with his great numbers on the offensive end, Green defensive skills look great. He has averaged one steal and one block through the first couple weeks of the new season. 

“That’s been my mindset since I can remember,” he added. “That will be my mindset as long as I can remember anything: That I am the best ever at what I do. And that will give me a shot at being the best,” said Green.

Lastly, aside from all the success Stephen Curry has had this year, with his MVP numbers and everything, one player who has stood out among all is Gary Payton ll. GP2 has averaged six points and three rebounds this year, but the two big factors he brings to this team are his explosiveness and his defense. Whenever Golden State is on the fast break, viewers will always see GP2 running down the court looking for a lob pass. Along with the explosiveness, the defense he brings is indescribable. No matter who it is, GP2 will guard the opposing team’s best perimeter player. Bringing back memories of the great defense of his father, Gary Payton, GP2 is averaging just around two steals per game.

“The message I want to send to the little kids is that you should never give up,” Shaq said. “If you never give up and you believe in yourself and believe in your passion, this is what you become. But listen, the guy (GP2) plays hard, he plays well and he never gave up. There’s a lot of guys who say ‘hey, I’m not going to make it and I’ll just do whatever.’ But this kid never gave up and he’s finally getting his chance,” said the Laker Hall-of-Famer. 

As the Warriors continue to succeed, fans and analysts are starting to consider them NBA Finals favorites.