It has been a long time since Steph Curry missed the playoffs.
The Warriors missed the playoffs in each of Curry's first three seasons, as they tried to build a title contender from the ground up. Two MVP awards, five NBA Finals appearances and three titles later, Curry found himself watching the playoffs as a spectator this season after the Warriors finished 15-50 in what is expected to be a gap season.
The Warriors have some work to do to this offseason to put together a winning roster around Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins. They have the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and a $17.2 million trade exception to work with.
Curry is confident president of basketball operations Bob Myers will make all the right moves to put the Warriors in the thick of the championship race.
"We just need talent," Curry told Bleacher Report's Scott Polacek. "At the end of the day, that's what you're always trying to get. I think we could use some size, but for the most part it's just trying to fill out the roster and get us as much depth as possible. I like the position that we're in with the assets that we got and the guys coming back off of injury. I think we'll get it right, our front office has gotten it right over and over, and I expect nothing different coming back from this tough year we had."
Curry and the Warriors are expected to be one of the many teams vying for the title next season in a loaded Western Conference. After half of a decade spent as the NBA's top team, Curry and the Warriors know what it takes to go from non-playoff team to title contender.
"It's totally different because we are now standing on the shoulders of ... proven championship pedigree and mentality and ability as opposed to back in the day when we still had to prove ourselves the first time," Curry said. "It's obviously a much better place to be in for me, Draymond and Klay knowing what it takes to be a championship team."
Golden State Warriors
A fully rested and healthy Warriors team should no doubt rocket back up the Western Conference hierarchy, joining the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets as the top title threats.
Of course, the Warriors will look different than in years past.
Kevin Durant is now in Brooklyn looking to win a title and find the meaning of some of life's most unanswerable questions with Kyrie Irving. Andre Iguodala has become an important championship piece for the Miami Heat and Shaun Livingston has joined the Warriors' front office after retiring following the 2019 NBA Finals.
The Warriors have the best top four in the NBA. But they must find the ancillary pieces to go around Curry, Thompson, Green and Wiggins.
One of those could come with the No. 2 overall pick. It's a draft without a generational talent, but guys like Deni Avdija, Killian Hayes, James Wiseman, Tyrese Haliburton and Devin Vassell could help the Warriors immediately and grow into the next face of the franchise.
There's no doubt the Warriors will make some calls on the trade market, but they are high on Wiggins' potential and want to see how he works alongside Curry, Thompson and Green.
The $17.2 million trade exception should be able to net the Warriors a quality veteran like Rudy Gay, Ricky Rubio or perhaps do some extra maneuvering to acquire a guy like Aaron Gordon.
Whenever next season starts, at least 13 of the 15 Western Conference teams will be legitimate playoff threats. The Phoenix Suns went 8-0 in the NBA bubble and made a run at the play-in game. The Memphis Grizzlies are a young, exciting team that came up short against the Portland Trail Blazers. If the Oklahoma City Thunder elect to keep Chris Paul and the Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves improve, the Western Conference will be a battle each and every night.
Curry doesn't mind that one bit.
"You look at the West and look at the teams that are in the bubble and how deep it was, and you add us back to the mix next year, it's going to be wild," he said.