It only seems like barely five minutes ago that the Los Angeles Lakers were celebrating their magnificent NBA championship triumph.
They dominated the 2019-20 season from start to finish, as LeBron James and Anthony Davis produced mesmerising basketball that few opposing teams were able to contain.
December 22 has now been officially announced by the NBA as the starting date for the 2020-21 season, following an agreement with the National Basketball Players Association for a 72-game schedule. Over the coming weeks, the fixture list for the regular season will be revealed, along with provisional dates for the postseason playoffs.
There will certainly be few eyebrows raised at practically everyone tipping the LA Lakers for the 2020-21 NBA Championship, having demonstrated their dominance from start to finish last season. However, the latest basketball odds at 7.50 for the Golden State Warriors points towards them being seriously in the mix once again.
Golden State closed out the Cavs to capture their first NBA championship in 40 years 🏆
Warriors vs. Cavaliers, 2015 NBA Finals Game 6 - Pop Up Edition - 6pm ET on NBA TV! pic.twitter.com/0gB7JbCzlV
— NBA TV (@NBATV) June 16, 2020
The Warriors were the worst team in the NBA last season, posting just 15 wins during the regular season campaign. This was after starting the campaign with genuine ambitions of reaching the playoffs, even with the departure of Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson out with a torn ACL. The hand injury suffered by Stephen Curry then crushed any such hopes.
Once it became clear the Warriors weren't getting anywhere near the playoffs, they went into full-on tank mode and began resting Draymond Green. Despite the awful results, head coach Steve Kerr insisted upon the Warriors maintaining their identity and, quite surprisingly, they still posted some of the best passes per game ratings in the league.
Clearly there's method in the madness of aiming to finish rock bottom, because this means the Warriors have plenty of NBA Draft options. Given they have the second pick overall, there are several interesting player prospects to choose from. Alternatively, they could trade that pick for an experienced player for immediate impact.
Coming 🔜 pic.twitter.com/R76I6Mw7u2
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 9, 2020
Whichever direction the front office takes at the NBA Draft, there's absolutely no doubting the Warriors will once again be genuine championship candidates. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are fully fit, plus they will both be determined to make up for lost time. Likewise, there will be no resting of key players like Draymond Green this season.
Overall, the Warriors can count on a strong roster of talent heading into the new season. That roster will almost certainly be reinforced with additional players, as the franchise aims to guarantee this team is capable of making the playoffs. Once there, quite literally anything can happen, although the Warriors are certainly capable of making a deep run to the NBA Finals.
In many respects, having dominated the NBA for five seasons and winning the championship three times during that period, that dynasty remains alive and well. Last season may well have just been a necessary step back due to unfortunate circumstances, as the Warriors franchise prepares to continue that dynasty, thinking of nothing but net and another golden age.