The Golden State Warriors are the most exciting team in sports. We rarely get a team special enough to fit the criteria of being the best in their sport but also the most entertaining to watch. Golden State has spoiled us with the best of both worlds. The recent regular season record of a 73-9 and the likely NBA Championship repeat coming up is cementing the Warriors as an all-time great dynasty. One season could be argued as a fluke when using the term dynasty but they were almost as impressive last year. The underappreciated run saw them have a top ten NBA regular season record and go through the playoffs with facing an elimination game once.
Golden State is revolutionizing the game by changing many of the past notions associated with the NBA. Everyone would say you can’t win in the postseason with three-point shooting as your primary source of offense. The Phoenix Suns failure to get to the NBA Finals during the Steve Nash era was used as proof for what happens when you don’t have a big man in the paint to lead the offense. The Warriors ended that last season when winning their first NBA Championship. They did it with outside shooting, efficient play and great team defense. The blueprint has changed and every team is embracing the three-point shot now.
The scary thing is the Warriors are very young and have a lot left to accomplish. As we stand, they have an advantage in the current NBA Finals with a very likely chance at repeating as two-time champions. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are all young. The role players have a perfect mix of players on the up and veterans towards the end of their prime. It will be riveting to watch how long the success of Golden State will continue as they try to prove their dominance for years to come. We’ll take a glance at the Warriors roster and try to forecast where everyone will be five years from now in 2021.
17 Luke Walton
Head coach Steve Kerr needing recovery time from back surgery gave Luke Walton an opportunity to show off his ability. Walton coached the Warriors to a 39-4 record before Kerr made his eventual return to the sidelines. The Los Angeles Lakers have hired Walton as their coach of the future starting next season and it’s a great situation. D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and a few other interesting prospects provide youth, along with the second overall pick in the upcoming 2016 NBA Draft. Kobe Bryant’s retirement gives Walton the chance to truly rebuild and he will be a successful coach in Los Angeles. Walton will be successful coaching a playoff Lakers team in 2021.
16 Steve Kerr
Steve Kerr's choice to coach the Golden State Warriors over the New York Knicks two years ago was the greatest decision in recent memory. Kerr is having one of the best two-year runs in NBA history and will have the job in Golden State for years to come. The basketball savvy mind has been put to great use leading the Warriors over the hump to become the best team in the NBA. Kerr shows the old school intelligence gained during his day and still manages to adapt to the changes in today’s game. There’s no doubt Kerr will be heralded as an elite coach in the NBA with his reign in Golden State continuing well beyond the next five years.
15 Anderson Varejao
The one man guaranteed to earn a NBA ring in 2016 is Anderson Varejao. The Cleveland Cavaliers let Varejao go to the Warriors mid-season and his limited role on both teams is enough for him to gain a ring either way under NBA rules. Varejao’s best days are clearly behind him and he’s likely bound for retirement in the near future. At his peak, he was a very solid center that left it all on the court but he’s barely a rotation player at this point. Varejao will definitely be retired in five years living off his NBA fortune. Maybe he’ll go back to his home in Brazil and live it up wearing his 2016 NBA Championship ring.
14 Kevon Looney
Golden State selected Kevon Looney in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft last year and the rookie showed signs of promise. Looney has talent but slipped late into the draft last year due to injury concerns. His work in 2016 was limited and he was ruled out in April with surgery needed to repair a torn labrum on his left hip. It is always difficult to predict the trajectory for a young rookie with little to no pro experience but Looney has the ability and time to earn a place in the NBA. The best bet is Looney becoming a lower tier rotation player on the bench for a team in the league.
13 James Michael McAdoo
James Michael McAdoo skillset wasn’t impressive enough to see him get drafted but he did end up getting signed by the Golden State Warriors. McAdoo has been a bench player on the two legendary Warriors rosters over the last two seasons. The Warriors will likely never give him noteworthy playing time unless something goes drastically wrong. McAdoo may leave Golden State in an attempt to get more minutes on another team, but it will be extremely tough. The most likely scenario for the future of McAdoo is roughing it in the D-League for years and that is where you’ll see him in 2021.
12 Ian Clark
Ian Clark has bounced around the NBA for the past three years looking to find a role and lucked into having one of the last Golden State roster spots. Clark only averaged 8.8 minutes per game in the regular season and gets no time in the playoffs. Clark has enough skill to battle for roster spots in the NBA, but it is a tough task to win playing time given the level of competition in the league today. Clark is the definitive example of a player that should play in another country to earn as much money as possible in a starring role. China’s basketball scene is growing and a very likely scenario would see Clark head over there to play by 2021 once his NBA run dries up.
11 Brandon Rush
Brandon Rush's outside shooting has made him a role player in the NBA over the past decade. Rush actually averaged 30 minutes per game at one point in his career with the Indiana Pacers. The Warriors have him as a solid bench player that will see minutes during the regular season when stars need to rest. Rush’s ride with Golden State will be over by 2021 and he may be in his final years of sitting on the bench for a lesser team. Players like Rush don’t have a long shelf life, but his three-point game and experience could help him continue to be the 12th man on the bench into the next five years.
10 Leandro Barbosa
Leandro Barbosa has been an unsung hero for the reserve unit in Golden State. You can’t win 67 and 73 wins in consecutive seasons without a great bench. Barbosa has been a fixture in helping provide depth for the Warriors with his ability to score in bunches. Barbosa's offensive game has been displayed during the NBA Finals and he may be on the way to another ring. At 33 years old, Barbosa is reaching the final stages of his career and he will be retired within the next five years. 2021 will see Barbosa hopefully enjoying the money saved from his playing career and enjoying a life after basketball.
9 Festus Ezeli
The upcoming restricted free agency of Festus Ezeli is an underrated story this summer. Ezeli has gradually improved and has been a valuable member of the Golden State Warriors success over the past two years. The big man is likely to receive big contract offers with an opportunity to start on a new team. Ezeli loves Golden State, but does he love it enough to take a pay cut and miss out on his first big contract? The most likely outcome is Ezeli going to another team and having a bigger role in the NBA going forward. A team like the Atlanta Hawks or Houston Rockets may need to overpay Ezeli with their big men expected to leave in the free agent period.
8 Marreese Speights
Golden State fans have fallen in love with Marreese Speights this season due to his enjoyable style of play and lovable personality. Speights has made it known that he would love to remain in the Warriors organization as long as possible. It is highly unlikely that anyone else will offer Speights a contract big enough to sacrifice his happiness. Mo' Buckets will continue to be a member of the Warriors bench for the remainder of his career. The dynasty will continue in Golden State and Speights will be along for the ride into 2021. Besides, who is going to mess with Stephen Curry when Mo is right there to get in your face to extract revenge?
7 Shaun Livingston
Injury issues hurt Shaun Livingston’s chance at becoming a star in the NBA, but he has found his niche as a tremendous role player in Golden State. Livingston is the leader of the second team as the point guard behind Stephen Curry. His big performance in Game 1 of this year’s NBA Finals showed just how much Livingston can impact a game. At 30 years old, Livingston has a few years left in the tank but it’s questionable given the surgeries and the effect of injuries on his body. Livingston has the mind and reputation of someone intelligent enough to continue working in the NBA. If Livingston isn’t playing in 2021, expect him to transition into an assistant coaching job.
6 Andrew Bogut
Andrew Bogut is one of the last traditional big men left in the NBA and his style of play is becoming extinct. Bogut's work is still important to helping Golden State become a great defensive unit. Bogut has become a favorite among the Warriors fan base due to his intense style of play and outspoken personality. A recent interview saw Bogut reveal that he has no idea why the Warriors would want Kevin Durant given the team’s current success and chemistry. Bogut will most likely remain in the Golden State family for years to come and has the personality for a broadcasting spot on the local television broadcasts giving his strong opinions in a studio.
5 Andre Iguodala
The addition of Andre Iguodala to the Warriors may have been the key piece to the team’s massive success. Iguodala’s defense has been a biggest factor in tough series over the past two playoff runs. Iguodala's stats will never present a Superstar on paper yet, he has a chance to repeat as a two-time NBA Finals MVP. Iguodala has been in the league for a long time and is in his early 30s, but he still plays outstanding defense. The importance of Iguodala during the current Warriors run will allow him to stay in the organization for the remainder of his career. 2021 would be around his final year in the NBA before hanging up the sneakers in Golden State.
4 Harrison Barnes
The most intriguing story on this list will be figuring out what the future holds for Harrison Barnes. The big three in Golden State forces Barnes to take a background role and get very little credit for the success of the Warriors. Barnes contributes nicely and teams will be chasing after him in free agency this summer, even though he's an RFA. Given his lesser importance in Golden State due to their star power, the Warriors will have a tough time matching the offers he receives. Expect a rebuilding team desperate for young talent like the Philadelphia 76ers or Brooklyn Nets to overpay Barnes and make him a long term fixture in their organization by splitting up the Warriors.
3 Draymond Green
The ascension of Draymond Green has been the difference in the Golden State Warriors growing from a great team into a legendary team. Green is arguably the best defender in the NBA today and plays his heart out on every possession. Green's offense was the question mark but he’s always in the right spot at the right time and recently improved his three-point shooting. It will be tough for Green to continue this recent pace of being a top ten player in the NBA but he’ll be a part of the Warriors organization for a long time. The big three in Golden State are a special trio that have the perfect strengths and chemistry to be a contender for the next five years. That won’t change.
2 Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson is getting paid well and having the time of his life on a historic team, but he still flies under the radar. The numbers show Thompson is one of the greatest three-point shooters of all time, but no one notices because Stephen Curry is on his team. It’s hard to be celebrated as one of the best when your backcourt mate is actually THE best. Thompson is still celebrated by Warriors fans and will continue to play at an All-Star level. Golden State will not mess with the top three stars and Thompson will still be putting up huge numbers for a tremendous Warriors team in 2021.
1 Stephen Curry
It seems like it happened overnight, but Stephen Curry is the new face of the NBA. The past two years of playing MVP basketball and leading the best team in the NBA with an awe-inspiring style of play have made Curry the top dog, passing LeBron James. Critics believe the play of Curry is bound to decline, but they also said a player like him would never win MVP and the Warriors would never win titles with him as their best player. Curry is here to stay and the sport is his to dominate. The future will have more MVP trophies and NBA Championship wins for the star point guard. 2021 will see us debating if Stephen Curry is a better player than Michael Jordan.