2018 was a solid year for the Warriors, winning their second straight championship and third in four years. Last year, in June, was when they officially became a dynasty. They went through ups and downs, most notably, with injuries to their stars. In fact, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green played half of the season together (41) last year. Injuries have played a role in the Warriors’ slow start to this season having a record of 25-13. A new year is a reset button. Here are 3 New Year’s resolutions for the Warriors in 2019.
3. Keep the turnovers down
One of the few ways opponents have a chance at knocking off the Warriors is forcing them to turn the ball over. When an offensive juggernaut is turning the ball over and not getting a shot on goal, that means opponents are doing their job to slow down this offensive machine.
Currently, the Warriors commit 14.7 turnovers per game this season, good for 14th in the league in that category. Last season, the team finished 26th in the league in turnovers per game at 15.4. The previous season, they finished 22nd in the league in turnovers at 14.8.
Part of the reason the Warriors commit more turnovers than an elite squad should is because of their playing style. Warriors coach, Steve Kerr allows his team to play with the freedom they want as long as it is within the parameters of the offense, which means lots of cutting, ball movement and player movement. That freedom that Kerr allows them to play with causes the team to sometimes make ill-advised passes or take poor shots.
The Warriors’ turnover rate has been a kryptonite of theirs for a while now, but if they keep it at 14 or below for the rest of the season, they should be in good shape for their postseason run.
2. Re-sign Kevin Durant & Klay Thompson
Another New Year’s resolution for the Warriors should be to try to persuade Durant and Thompson to re-sign with the Warriors this offseason. Although, free agency doesn’t start until the first day in July, it’s not too early to start making pitches to both players to convince them to come back.
Before his altercation with Durant, Green had one recruiting pitch to Durant to stay, which was winning three championships, while Durant is on the team. Durant has said that he wants his next payday to be a big one, as he has taken paycuts the past couple of seasons to accommodate veterans Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston back into the fold.
There have not been as many recruiting pitches to Thompson as there have been for Durant. Thompson has expressed numerous times that he would like to stay and finish his career with the Warriors.
The two-time Finals MVP is having another spectacular season, averaging 28.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg and 6.2 apg. Durant helped the Warriors stay afloat when Curry went down with a groin injury.
Although Thompson is having the worst season since his second year in the league, he is still invaluable at the shooting guard position. He is defending at an elite level slowing down the top point guards and shooting guards. This might be the year that Thompson makes an All-NBA Defensive team, an honor he has never had in his illustrious career.
Free agency is a long way away, but when the calendar turns to July, Bob Myers and his staff should prioritize in keeping Durant and Thompson for the foreseeable future.
1. A Three-Peat
Few teams in NBA history have won three consecutive titles, but Bill Russell’s Celtics in the 1960s, Kobe and Shaq’s Lakers and Michael Jordan’s Bulls are the only teams to achieve this rare feat. Russell’s Celtics at one time, won eight championships in a row, while in the modern NBA, Jordan’s Bulls won two separate three-peats.
For now, the Warriors are trying to win one three-peat. Winning a championship is never easy no matter how much talent a team has. There are always roadblocks, whether that is injuries, other teams improving immensely or flameouts from the team’s best scorers and shooters.
This season, however, has seen the Warriors at their most vulnerable, their weakest. The fear factor that surrounded the Warriors once before is not there anymore. Oklahoma City came into Oracle Arena and blew out the Warriors, for example. Another example, is when the Toronto Raptors, sans Kawhi Leonard, blasted the Warriors on their home floor.
The Warriors have three-and-a-half months to work out the kinks and rediscover the dominance that held a stranglehold on the NBA. This potential three-peat the Warriors are chasing is not just to continue their control over the NBA landscape, but also, a lasting farewell to Oakland and Oracle Arena before they ride out to the sparkling palace that is the Chase Center.
It will be a difficult task with teams threatening to snatch their crown and place in NBA lore, but the new year is for calibration, improving upon what could be done better and attaining goals. That one goal the Warriors are striving for is in arm’s length, they just have to reach out and take it.