A Golden dynasty coming to an end?

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By Justin Ahrns, Justin Ahrns is a Roar Pro

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    Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant dribbles the ball up the court. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

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    The Golden State Warriors have been basketball magic over the past four seasons. They’ve had 320 wins (including postseason), two titles and three finals appearances, with a chance to win another title next month.

    Stephen Curry has emerged as the greatest shooter the game has ever seen, and arguably the most influential player since Michael Jordan. General manager Bob Myers hit the jackpot in 2016 by signing Kevin Durant.

    Stephen Curry drives the ball

    Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (AP Photo)

    And while their core of Curry, Klay Thomspon, Durant and Draymond Green will remain intact and in its prime, the gap between their best and the next best team is narrowing. They managed 67 wins last season en route to a 16-1 record in the playoffs. This season, albeit interrupted by injuries at different stages, they managed just 58 wins, and have already lost two games en route to the Western Conference Finals.

    A shift in power may be on its way in the Eastern Conference, which has been dominated by LeBron James for the last eight years. The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers in particularly have emerged as young playoff teams, while the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference are the emerging team, and could acquire two big name free agents this offseason.

    The near future of the league will be shaped, again, by where LeBron decides to play. He can opt out of his contract at the end of this season, and has been linked to the 76ers, Rockets, Lakers and his current team, Cleveland.

    LeBron James drives past Lonzo Ball

    (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Each of these options are intriguing and would solidify an already terrific team. He could team with James Harden and Chris Paul, or with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, or potentially join the Lakers young core with another superstar, such as Paul George. So until we know the fate of LeBron James, it is difficult to accurately predict the future of the league.

    What does seem evident though is that the gap continues to narrow. The Boston Celtics are the experts’ tip to challenge for the title next season, as Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving join the Celtics incredible young core and elite head coach Brad Stevens.

    They have been built similarly to the Warriors in a sense; they rely on having multiple ball-handlers on the court at all times, and the ability to switch everything on defence. They don’t have the same elite shooting, but who does?

    The Celtics will have the option of using a line-up of Irving-Brown-Hayward-Tatum-Horford next season, which closely mirrors the Warriors ‘death line-up’ of Curry-Thompson-Igoudala-Durant-Green.

    Multiple trips to the NBA finals has its toll on players and teams, with LeBron James seemingly the lone exception. Already, many injuries have occurred to Kevin Love, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving and Draymond Green this season, who have all played in three consecutive finals.

    As the Warriors aim to make it a fourth, and potentially a fifth next season, the wave of youthful teams could start to really make its mark. Young talent in the NBA is as good as it has ever been, and the line-up of players waiting to pounce on a Warriors dynasty entering its twilight years is growing.

    I give it one more season before this all-time team comes back to earth, after five all-time dominant seasons, as the teams coming through the ranks over the past few years suggests we are in for some incredible rivalries, and the renewal of many old rivalries, over the next decade.

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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • May 11th 2018 @ 3:20am
      Lara said | May 11th 2018 @ 3:20am | ! Report

      They have shooters everywhere . No , GS is good for at least another 3 years and all they need in the future is a top centre to get some variation and rebounding presence.

    • May 11th 2018 @ 6:29pm
      Swampy said | May 11th 2018 @ 6:29pm | ! Report

      Is Steph a better shooter than klay or durant? He definitely can pass and dribble better.

      Regardless, they are still a young core along with Draymond. I can’t see them ‘dropping off’ in ability in the next 2-3 years. I think they’ll still be the benchmark going forwards – even if they get beaten this year.

      If anything, the majority of the current contenders will more likely ‘drop off’. Boston being the only really youthful team amongst them.

      (lets sit the sixers aside for the minute – Boston showed us they have a ways to go yet)

      • May 12th 2018 @ 2:57am
        express34texas said | May 12th 2018 @ 2:57am | ! Report

        Curry’s probably the best shooter in NBA history.

        • May 12th 2018 @ 9:58pm
          Swampy said | May 12th 2018 @ 9:58pm | ! Report

          They might have three of the best shooters of all time on the one team. At times, Curry’s shot attempts from distance are not well taken. When he is set and balanced it’s a thing of beauty. But so is klay coming off a pick. And so is durant on an iso at the top of the key. If you were drawing up a last second play two points down with 5 seconds to go, do you give it to curry, durant or klay? I’m not sure that answer is so simple.

          • May 15th 2018 @ 7:26am
            express34texas said | May 15th 2018 @ 7:26am | ! Report

            Thompson/KD are great shooters, but not like Curry. As far as just being able to shoot, more-or-less a pure shooter, Curry is #1 all-time for me. But, there’s different parts of shooting when it comes to game play such as iso shooting, spotup shooting, tough-shot shooting, and so forth. Curry would still be #1 for me taking everything into consideration.

            In last-second situations, you should give the ball to your best playmaker almost always, especially if he’s a ball-handler, unless you have 2 elite players, which GS has. So, either KD or Curry should get the ball. Thompson definitely shouldn’t. This doesn’t mean KD or Curry should necessarily be shooting the shot, but they should be initiators for whatever play is run.

            • May 15th 2018 @ 4:33pm
              Mushi said | May 15th 2018 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

              Final play I’d go Durant with the ball.

              Curry is a better pure shooter but Durant is a better scorer and I’d give him the nod passing in traffic.

              Plus it means curry is off ball he can be free for a catch and shoot, Durant’s biggest “flaw” is he isn’t as good as he could be off ball.

    • May 11th 2018 @ 11:44pm
      LOL said | May 11th 2018 @ 11:44pm | ! Report

      They will win the series within 5 games.
      Then sweep the Cavs.

      The warriors didn’t play a regular season…they played an 82 game preseason lol.
      They had zero interest in it, that happens when you know you’re gonna play in the finals year after year.

    • May 13th 2018 @ 1:40pm
      SAVAGE said | May 13th 2018 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

      Let’s wait and see shall we? I agree with most about the current finals, and GS should win it. Philly need a couple of more pieces and I agree, they will be looking good in moving into next season, Boston are my pick to challenge the west next season with their current roster, underrated coach, and if they pick up Kawhai Leonard, because Pop is adamant he’s not going to another western conference team, then IMHO they will be the ones to watch over the next 3-4yrs.

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      May 14th 2018 @ 11:54am
      Ryan Geer said | May 14th 2018 @ 11:54am | ! Report

      The Warriors still have the most talented roster in the NBA. But after three straight finals campaigns and two championships and more wins in the last four seasons than any other team you can understand why people are starting to question them. It would be hard to stay motivated for the amount of time, complacency has crept in to their game. Also all of their stars Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green missed significant time this season with injury.

      They will come out all guns blazing against the Rockets in game 1 especially after all the trash talk already from Houston. If the Warriors can put them away early in game 1 we could be looking at a short series no more than 5 games, Houston won’t have the mental toughness and experience this deep in the playoffs to keep with a warriors team which is firing.

      Even if the Warriors lose game 1 I still see a series win to them I just don’t think Houston is ready and has the playoff experience to contend with the Warriors.

    • May 15th 2018 @ 4:39pm
      Mushi said | May 15th 2018 @ 4:39pm | ! Report

      Houston are obi-wan, our only hope.

      I am already cringing about the yet written paul/Harden are soft because they couldn’t dismantle the death star.

      In today’s game outside of missing some gimmes (which happens) Houston gave GS a hard time on both sides of the ball.

      Unfortunately when things click for a team with 4 all nba + 1all nba D (Inc 2 MVPs) it’s like the end scene of infinity wars

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