Golden State Warriors

Klay Thompson expects Warriors’ young guns to contend for NBA titles one day

The secret is out in Golden State. The Warriors are attempting to thread the needle and compete for a championship this season while simultaneously grooming a batch of young prospects for the future.

But when will that future arrive? When will rookie lottery picks Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, last year’s No. 2 pick James Wiseman, and third-year standout Jordan Poole actually start taking minutes from superstars Stephen Cury, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson?

It seems like a fantasy now, with the Warriors fresh off a big road win on Christmas against their rival atop the standings, the Suns.

It’s a reality that Golden State is prepared for, however. As for Thompson, he says that when the young guns start to take over, the standards for their play will be quite high.

“We’re a championship team,” Thompson says. “So when they do step in and take our minutes, we expect them to have the same success we did, as far as just being a contender year in and year out.”

Sports Illustrated

Perhaps nothing displays how “all-in” the team is regarding the Warriors’ “thread the needle” strategy (as coined by ESPN’s Doris Burke on the Christmas Day broadcast) as this statement from Thompson. Golden State is on a mission, top to bottom and with their superstars fully on board, to do what no team ever has — certainly not to the scale the Warriors are attempting, anyway.

Will it work? We simply don’t know yet. I honestly think it will, however. The youngsters look good, and the veterans have a stake in the program and are providing all the guidance they can muster. Kuminga, Moody, Poole, and Wiseman are getting a master class right now, with the Warriors looking every bit like a championship contender with serious intentions.

Here’s another quote from the Sports Illustrated article I cited earlier, again from Thompson.

“Banners are timeless. Records are meant to be broken. Individual statistics are meant to be topped. But banners hang forever. I try to tell these young guys that no one cares what your stats are by the end of season. The goal of the game is to win the game.”–Thompson

Sports Illustrated

The Warriors have a special culture in Golden State. There are heavy expectations for the team’s youngers, but they’re not being asked to do anything that hasn’t been done before in the Bay Area. The greatness that preceeds them should make their job easier.

Because Klay, Dray, and Steph know the way. What they did — bringing the Warriors franchise from the bottom to the top of the NBA — seemed more impossible than just about anything in sports history. The young guns simply have to uphold a Warriors tradition.

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