Podcast Videos

Ezeli believes Warriors still have two championships in them

When the Warriors failed to defend their latest NBA title, they had a chance to look back and reflect on the 2022-23 rollercoaster ride of a season.

NBC Universal, Inc.

So did the rest of the NBA world.

Following their second-round playoff exit, the focus shifted to one thing: What does this mean for the Warriors' dynasty of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green?

Former Warrior and current NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Festus Ezeli talked to Warriors insider Monte Poole about the many questions looming over the future of Golden State on the latest "Dubs Talk" episode -- and he even snuck in a prediction of whether he can see this core winning another championship.

"Where I see this team right now, Draymond can opt out of his contract and really demand more money. Klay Thompson is going into the last year of his deal. And these are all things that make a huge impact on what this team is," Ezeli said. "[Warriors coach] Steve Kerr already said this team without Draymond is not a championship team.

"Do we want to keep winning championships or do we want to be a rebuilding franchise where we focus on building the young guys? I think that's one of the tough things that this team has to figure out, but at the end of the day, I feel like there are still two championships left in the tank for this team."

The Warriors pride themselves on continuing to ride with their core group all while developing teenagers and other young players. It worked out in the 2021-22 season. Not so much this time.

A preseason scuffle between Green and Jordan Poole played a part in damaging the team's chemistry and culture, but rebuilding that trust and culture is the Warriors' top offseason priority and something Ezeli believes is possible.

But that wasn't the only thing that dramatically impacted the season, Ezeli said. He believes the Warriors losing key pieces like Otto Porter Jr. and Gary Payton II (before re-acquiring him) left a big hole in the roster that wasn't able to be filled.

"I see a team that was trying to find its identity last year," Ezeli said. "Those pieces the team missed, they just meshed perfectly together for them to be able to have the run that they did in the playoffs. [The Warriors'] job was to try to replicate that and really try to make it better. And part of their making it better was their two timelines. They have a young core, very talented with Jordan Poole at the helm.

"We had young guys who everybody felt like could be a continuation of the dynasty. ... They still do have these young pieces they can build on. Jordan Poole got a lot of flak for the postseason but he played an incredible year. He has big shoes to fill in Steph Curry and Klay Thompson's shoes. Then you have a guy like Jonathan Kuminga who is probably one of the best athletes in the NBA. Even with the limited time on the court, he kept getting better."

RELATED: Why Ezeli is confident Draymond-JP relationship can be fixed

Winning one championship is hard. The Warriors won four in eight seasons. Two more certainly aren't impossible for this dynasty.

Download and follow the Dubs Talk Podcast

Contact Us