Run It Back, Warriors?

Game six solidified not one, but two things for the Golden State Warriors. 1) The Warriors are 2021-22 NBA Champions. 2) Their dynasty is not over, it never was. Doubts were made back in the 2019-2020 season when the Warriors finished in dead last with only 15 wins. Now, “the energy shifted,” as Draymond Green tweeted, and now Green, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have received their fourth ring. Warriors fans should already be calling for them to run it back.

Stephen Curry is plausibly the best player on the Warriors. He has now entered into the conversation as having a seat at the table with the greats, like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Curry is 34 years old which makes him one of the oldest players on the team. However, this does not mean much considering he just played, arguably, his best finals yet and received the most valuable player award after scoring 187 points total. Followers of the league may groan, but Curry could be cooking for at least another couple of years.

Now, let’s take a look at Klay Thompson, who just played in his first playoffs since 2019. This championship was different, not just for number 11, but for his closest teammates who knew how special it was for him to be back. Thompson may not have been the best player of the finals, but that is not to say he did not leave his mark. Thompson averaged 17 points and 38 minutes in the series. It does not feel like Thompson has reached his full potential, especially since his big return was only months prior in December. With a full season under his belt, he may very well get back into the groove of things.

Draymond Green was the most heckled player of this series. From expert analysts and the Boston Crown, to even being called out by his mother. Green only averaged six points this series, but putting up big numbers on the scoreboard is not his role and he knows that. While he fouled out of three games, Green definitely turned it around in the sixth game and silenced the Boston crowd in the process. Green put up 12 points, which was his high of the series. In addition, he had an astounding 12 rebounds and out-physicaled the Boston Celtics on every level. The Warriors would not have had such success in game six if it were not for the defensive capabilities of Green.

Andrew Wiggins was really the only player who was even in discussion to receive the finals MVP instead of Curry. Of course, this debate was among fans since the vote ended up being unanimous. Wiggins being a name in the discourse was in large part due to the fact that when Curry went 0/9 from three in game five, Wiggins was the one to step up with 26 points and 13 rebounds. For the entire series, Wiggins averaged 18 points, but this statline truly does not tell the entire story. Without the two-way work of Wiggins, the Warriors do not win game five or six, and ultimately, are not NBA champions. 

Like the big three of the Warriors, Andre Iguodala also has four rings with the team. Since Iguodala was battling injuries most of the playoffs, he did not see much action. Iguodala scored seven points and played a total of 19 minutes spread over four games in the series versus Boston. However, do not let these numbers deceive you. Just because Iguodala did not have a prominent role on the court does not mean that he was not helping the team achieve greatness. A clip surfaced of Iguodala coaching Andrew Wiggins up to the Golden State standard. In game six, Iguodala could also be seen animatedly helping Gary Payton II on the sideline. The Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy belongs just as much to Andre Iguodala as it does to the rest of the Warriors organization. 

Jordan Poole, Kevon Looney and Gary Payton II all contributed to the series in some way, shape or form. Poole may have had the most impact as he averaged 13 points. Poole is also 2/2 when it comes to buzzer beaters in the NBA finals, one of which gave Golden State the push they needed to come out in the fourth quarter of game five roaring. Looney did not have as many minutes as he did in the previous series, but his height was a key factor as he had 45 rebounds in six games. Payton II returned in game two from a fractured elbow that he suffered in a playoff meeting against the Memphis Grizzlies. Payton II was a solid bench player and managed 35 points that unfolded over the course of five games. Payton II is a player that I would like to see develop into a larger role. Plus, his dunks are first-class. Put him on a poster.

Even though the Warriors were one of the older teams in this championship run, fans should look forward to the younger talent in James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, who are all between the ages of 19 and 21 years old. Alongside the younger talent, Curry, Thompson and Green should have at least one championship push left in the tank. Golden State has momentum on their side and back-to-back glory seems to be their best chance. So, Warriors, run it back?

Author

  • moniquereil

    Football, basketball and soccer fan. Currently a fourth-year student-athlete studying history, English and graphic design.

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