The 2019 NBA offseason has completely changed the makeup of the league and with so much player movement, there are a number of teams who can conceivably win the 2020 NBA Finals.
Many view the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers at the top of the bunch with teams like the Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz, and Denver Nuggets also being mentioned. One team that has dropped in many people’s eyes are the Golden State Warriors.
It makes a ton of sense on the surface as the Warriors lost one of the league’s best players in Kevin Durant while Klay Thompson will be out for most of the 2019-20 NBA season with a torn ACL injury. They did add D’Angelo Russell, but that came at the cost of Andre Iguodala.
It’s a much different team for sure, but head coach Frank Vogel isn’t writing them off. Vogel spoke to Steve Aschburner of NBA.com about the parity of the league and he believes people are sleeping on the Warriors as a championship contender:
I agree that it’s more open. But I think people are sleeping on Golden State if they think they’re still not going to be a great team. I definitely think that they are. But it does seem more balanced. There’s a lot being written about Big Twos instead of the Big Three era. To me, there are more teams that seem to have a reasonable chance to win it all.
There definitely is a new sense of openness about the league coming into the new season. The last few seasons have all seemed like foregone conclusions with the Warriors being the overwhelming favorites, but that is no longer the case.
As Vogel said, there are more duos now with the Lakers, Clippers, Rockets, Jazz, Nuggets, Trail Blazers, and Warriors all boasting an impressive pair.
The Warriors have flown under the radar since they didn’t add the likes of Anthony Davis, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, or Russell Westbrook like others, but they remain dangerous. Stephen Curry is still one of the NBA’s best players and they still have a championship foundation and structure that will make them a tough out for anyone.
Vogel respects the Warriors as the champions that they are and the rest of the league should do the same. He is facing a lot of pressure as the team’s new head coach, but he knows the challenges that lie ahead when it comes to other contenders in the Western Conference and the Warriors are still among them.