Embracing Grace: The Golden State Warriors’ Journey to Aging with Strength

Golden State is probably permanently entrenched as a middle of the pack team. There is no renovating crumbling support beams around their Big 3 pillars because they are the source of deterioration. The franchise showed faith in Klay Thompson bouncing back from serious injuries five years ago, but expecting that to happen again at 33 as his production declines, and four years after an Achilles tear, is a pipe dream. Thompson appears to have confronted reality during an early 2024 conversation with Steve Kerr.

Draymond Green, on the other hand, got so crotchety that Commissioner Adam Silver had to step in after he smacked Jusuf Nurkic in the face not long after he returned for choking Rudy Gobert. Green has said all the right things since his suspension was lifted, but his actions over the next few weeks will echo louder.

On the floor, Golden State is the NBA’s Roger Bannister. Their paradigm-shifting title tilted the NBA from an inside-out game into a perimeter sport. The Boston Celtics are the presumptive favorites to return to the Finals and are making more triples than any team in the league. If there’s any consolation, it’s that Golden State recaptured their record last season.

Sam Presti took what Golden State showed the league and added a Voltron of long and rangy playmakers to the formula instead of the iso machines he originally targeted in his first iteration with Oklahoma City.

Steph Curry is obviously the King of the Arc, and eight years later, remains the only player to drain 400 long-distance buckets in a single season. Klay Thompson is a similar caliber of marksman, but provided the defensive cover for Curry to hide defensively. He is still on pace to surpass Jesus Shuttlesworth. Green was the prototype for modern defensive free safeties who could defend slashers in the lane, reject weak attempts at the rim or body up perimeter ball handlers.

Over the past decade, no franchise has been more allergic to utilizing the screen-and-roll for Curry, or isos, than Golden State. Steve Kerr won five titles and the war for basketball’s soul.

Golden State has to decide by the trade deadline if they want to scale back and enjoy their classics tour or make one more push with a new cast. Green’s 17-game absence due to a variety of incidents muddies the answer to that question, but the chances of them reaching one last crescendo in 2024 are shrinking by the day.