For the past five years, the Golden State Warriors have lived by one mantra: "Strength in Numbers." Yes, they had more talent at the top than any other team in the NBA, but at critical moments throughout their five consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, they knew they could count on their deep, veteran-laden bench to support their superstars.
But the Warriors underwent a dramatic transformation this summer. Gone were not only All-NBA-level starters Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins, but also key reserves Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. The Warriors' newfound underdog status meant they were no longer a destination for veterans willing to take a pay cut to chase a near-guaranteed ring.
The good news for the Warriors is that they still have Curry, Thompson and Green to be the focal points of that culture. The trio of players takes a great deal of pride in what they have accomplished together, but the organization knows that it's time for each of the three to take on more leadership responsibility this season.
Curry, 31, noted that he is now the oldest Warriors player after the offseason moves and that he will "have to step my game up."
"The chemistry will develop quickly. We'll be really purposeful about that and trying to set the tone for how we're going to play this year," Curry said. "It's about encouraging each other and having confidence that we'll bring the best out of each other. Then when Klay gets back as well, add him to the backcourt mix. It's going to be fun.
"I'm excited, to be honest with you. Five straight years in the Finals and we've accomplished a lot, and three championships. There's a lot to be proud of. But everybody wants a new challenge in terms of how do you get back to that level."
Thompson, a month removed from surgery to repair his left knee, is expected to make a full recovery and follow a standard recovery time.
"The Warriors showed their loyalty and their respect for me, offering me that five-year deal," Thompson said of his new $190 million contract. "Jumped on that as soon as I could, just because the history with this team and the franchise it would be so hard to leave.
"And to say the dynasty is over I think is a little ignorant, 'cause I think I'm going to come back 100 percent — I think I'm going to come back even better and more athletic. And it would not be smart to count the Dubs out. That's all I tell people, especially with the chemistry we still have and our foundation still being there, I think we have the ability to continue this run."
“而对于那些说勇士王朝已经结束的人，我觉得他们有点无知，因为我认为我会100％的康复 – 甚至更强和更好的运动能力。而且把勇士国度排除在竞争者行列之外是不明智的。这就是我告诉人们的全部内容，尤其是我们仍然拥有的化学反应和我们的球队根基还在，我认为我们有能力继续打入总决赛。”
Green has been one of the vital cogs of the Warriors’ run to five straight NBA Finals, with the 35th pick in the 2012 draft elevating himself into an All-Star and helping the franchise become a modern dynasty. He has been on the NBA's All-Defensive first or second team for five straight seasons and was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2017.
Much like Curry and Thompson before him, Green has been open about how much being part of the Warriors organization means to him. He never doubted that he would stay long term.
"I'm confident that I'll be here for a very long time," Green said. "So it's not something I'm going into the season thinking about. Like all that stuff will be taken care of when it's best for me, when it's best for the team. I'm not looking at this one-sided. It's a partnership. And it's a family. And doing the right thing for everyone involved is important."
New Warriors guard D'Angelo Russell is excited about the chance to pair with Stephen Curry and the defending Western Conference champions after being acquired in a sign-and-trade from the Brooklyn Nets for Kevin Durant.
The Warriors are hoping Russell can help them bridge the gap as Klay Thompson recovers from a torn left ACL that is expected to keep him out for most of the regular season.
"Honestly, I'm excited," Russell said. "I'm excited more than anything. I think it's a huge opportunity just to take another step and learn from a good group of guys that have done — and marked their way in this league, so I'm super excited."