Best-, worst-case scenarios for Warriors' starting five


The Warriors enter the 2020-21 NBA season in a unique position, looking to return to championship contention just one season after finishing with a league-worst 15-50 record.The pressure will be on Steph Curry and Draymond Green to perform, and that pressure was ratcheted up following the news of Klay Thompson's season-ending Achilles injury. Kelly Oubre and Andrew Wiggins will get the majority of the minutes at the wing, but many questions remain about what this season will look like for the Warriors.Let's examine the best and worst-case scenarios for the Warriors' projected starting lineup.

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Best-case scenario: The two-time NBA MVP does what many expected him to do last season before breaking his hand in late October, and reminds the NBA exactly how special he can be. Rested legs lead to plenty of minutes and a high usage rate, and if the Warriors can be among the top four teams in the West at season’s end, Curry should be in the conversation for a third MVP award.

Worst-case scenario: Curry either gets hurt early in the season, similar to the 2019-20 campaign or simply gets worn down by the added pressure from opposing defenses without his fellow Splash Brother to help space the floor. If the addition of Oubre ends up diminishing the Warriors’ ability to space the floor, opposing guards will be all over Steph from the second he reaches half court. Warriors struggle to stay among the top eight in the competitive Western Conference.


Best-case scenario: Oubre demonstrates the borderline elite defensive acumen that made him such a popular player this offseason. He shot a career-high 35.2 percent from three last season in Phoenix, if he can end up with something closer to 40 and take some of the heat off Steph Curry, the Warriors’ offense could resemble something close to what it looks like with Klay Thompson on the court. With his 25th birthday coming just before the Warriors’ first preseason game in December, Oubre still has plenty of room to grow and could make himself a household name in Golden State and across the league.

Worst-case scenario: A lack of a true offseason limits Oubre’s development, and he takes too much time to mesh with Curry and Draymond Green in the flow of the Warriors’ offense. His 3-point percentage regresses closer to 30 percent, and Oubre becomes a much more one-dimensional player. The Warriors’ lack of wing production continues to hurt them, as it did in 2019-20.


Best-case scenario: The former No. 1 overall draft pick recaptures that passion and talent and silences the haters, scoring over 20 points per game and buys in on the defensive end with Oubre and Draymond Green in his ear. Wiggins again looks like one of the NBA’s most athletic wings, and shows he can be relied on to make big shots, as well as consistently hitting 35 percent-plus of his threes. Maple Jordan even creeps into NBA All-Star discussion, although no game will be played this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Worst-case scenario: Wiggins indeed proves to be one of the NBA’s worst contracts, and doesn’t build on the progress he made following last year’s trade at the deadline. He averages closer to 15 points per game, and fails to be a reliable defender against the league’s best forwards. Warriors are a candidate for the play-in playoff games at best.


Best-case scenario: Vintage Draymond returns with elite defense across multiple positions, and provides veteran leadership alongside Steph Curry as the Warriors return to championship contention. All those videos of offseason shooting workouts pay off, and Green connects on somewhere around 35 percent of his threes. His presence on the court helps speed up the defensive development of Marquese Chriss, James Wiseman and the rest of Golden State’s rotation.

Worst-case scenario: Green gets hobbled early after a unique offseason limited on-court preparations, and the Warriors’ defense as a whole suffers with Draymond out of the lineup. The shooting woes continue, and the offense becomes even more reliant on Curry to run a one-man show. Playoffs become a pipe dream.


Best-case scenario: The 23-year-old becomes more of a threat on the offensive end, and posts a double-figure scoring average for the first time in his NBA career. Chriss provides a rock-solid rim protector and overall defender at the five while allowing James Wiseman to develop at a comfortable pace.

Worst-case scenario: Chriss regresses early, forcing Wiseman to an increased role ahead of his development track. His lack of size gets taken advantage of on a nightly basis in the paint, and his athleticism doesn’t allow him to keep up with what should be a much more up-tempo offense for the Warriors.


Best-case scenario: Wiseman could earn the starting nod with a strong training camp, and regardless should be getting somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-25 minutes a night as a rookie. The big man proves that his limited college tape didn't demonstrate his entire skillset, and his size advantage over Chriss manifests with impressive rim protection. Wiseman averages somewhere close to a double-double.

Worst-case scenario: Wiseman ends up being further behind in his development than many hoped, and he is unable to stay on the court for long stretches. Chriss ends up getting the bulk of the minutes inside, and Wiseman fails to average double-digit points or rebounds.

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