Golden State’s potent mix of savvy veterans and rising stars had oddsmakers and experts on Friday predicting more championship glory for the Warriors after it secured its fourth title in eight seasons on Thursday.
The Warriors resounding 4-2 Finals win over the Boston Celtics marked a stunning turnaround for a team that had missed the playoffs the previous two seasons due to injuries.
But Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all got healthy in time for the playoffs to blow past the Nuggets, Grizzlies, Mavericks and Celtics with key contributions from Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole, all of whom are expected to return next season.
“I’ve got the Warriors repeating. They are winning the NBA championship again next year,” ESPN basketball analyst Stephen A. Smith said on his show.
“Steph ain’t going to fade, he has more energy than guys 10 years younger than him,” he said of Finals MVP Curry, who is 34.
“Klay Thompson will be even healthier and play better next year. Jordan Poole ain’t going to get worse. And Jonathan Kuminga, he’s coming,” Smith said of the athletic 19-year-old wing.
Colin Cowherd of Fox Sports said the Warriors players and organization are the envy of the league.
“They are smarter than you. They are more selfless than you. They are more human than you. They play better defense than you. They develop their players better than you,” Cowherd said.
“They are a dynasty because they are the essence of the sport. They are the standard. They have the best owner, the best GM and the best coach and the best, most selfless star,” he said of Curry, who is making a case for being one of the all-time greats.
If the Warriors repeat next season, Curry’s fifth championship will move him ahead of LeBron James’ and Shaquille O’Neal’s four and into a tie with Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan.
Bookkeepers were not underestimating the possibility. PointsBet on Friday listed the Warriors, Celtics and Clippers as co-favorites to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy next season.